Traditional Celtic band, Beòlach, at Coronado March 8

In the charitable spirit of St. Patrick and as a warm-up to St. Patrick’s Day, the Forest Glen World-Music Concert Series is presenting its 10th not-for-profit benefit concert in Rockford. Proceeds from the concert will support the Girl Scouts of Rock River Valley.

The next in the series will feature Beòlach, a six-member band from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, March 8, at the Coronado Theatre.

The band is composed of stepdancers, featuring the Inverness County style of stepdancing. Stepdancers are welcome to dance in the aisles, and maybe even on stage. Beòlach has been compared to Riverdance.

Beòlach has received much international acclaim. It is considered to be the best and most exciting new traditional Celtic band and is one of the most harmonic and innovative Cape Breton bands to appear on stage. Cape Breton is an island off the northeast cost of Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia, one of Canada’s Martime Provinces, is off the eastern coast of Canada in the North Atlantic Ocean. It takes about eight hours to circumnavigate Cape Breton Island.

It is said that Cape Breton has more musicians per capita than any place in the world. Natalie MacMaster and Her Band, featured at the fourth Forest Glen concert Sept. 19, 1998, is from Cape Breton. Those who enjoyed the Natalie concert should also enjoy this Beòlach concert.

Beòlach is a Gaelic word meaning “lively youth.” The group performs an energetic mix of Celtic music, including Irish, Scottish, and Cape Breton tunes, featuring two fiddles, pipes, whistles, keyboards/piano, guitar, and drums. The band began at an impromptu session at the Celtic Colours International Festival in 1998, and, after a strong initial response, went on to play festivals and concerts in North America and Europe. The group recorded its self-titled debut album in summer 2001, and is now working on a second album.

Beòlach’s current album features original compositions, as well as unique, dynamic arrangements of traditional Celtic tunes. Album information can be found on the band’s Web site,

Beòlach demonstrates spirited performances, witty presentations, and versatile stepdancing. The band takes Cape Breton tunes from their usual fiddle/piano context and presents them with the renewed energy of a young six-piece band. While they perform within a contemporary style, Beòlach maintains a great respect for and understanding of tranditional Celtic and Cape Breton music.

Beòlach consists of Patrick Gillis (guitar), Mairi Rankin (fiddle), Wendy MacIsaac (fiddle), Mac Morin (piano/keyboards), Ryan MacNeil (pipes & whistles), and Mathew Foulds (drums).

The Beòlach concert in Rockford is part of the Forest Glen World-Music Concert Series sponsored by Forest Glen, Rockford’s national award-winning apartment community on McFarland Road, just south of Riverside Boulevard.

The Forest Glen World-Music Concert Series has included some of the best world-music artists: the famous traditional Irish band, Patrick Street; the equally exciting Irish band, Solas; the spectacular, toe-tapping, French-Canadian music of La Bottine Souriante from Quebec; the exciting and wild fiddling and stepdancing of Natalie MacMaster and Her Band from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia; Altan, one of the world’s best and most well-known Irish bands; and the Scottish band, Skyedance, featuring Alasdair Fraser. Two years ago, the series brought the Sharon Shannon Band to the newly restored Coronado Theatre. Last year, the Forest Glen Concert Series featured Lúnasa, also at the Coronado.

For information on the Forest Glen World-Music Concert Series, visit the concert Web site,, or for information about the band, visit its Web site at

Tickets for reserved seats are $17 for adults and $12 for children/students/seniors (seniors, age 65 and older), when purchased in advance. To get the best seats and save money, order tickets soon—tickets purchased the day of the concert will cost an additional $3. For reserved seating at Rockford’s Beòlach concert, call 815-968-5222, visit CentreEvents ticket outlets, MetroCentre box offices, go online at, or visit The Tin Whistle, 1414 N. Main St.

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!