A distinctive blend of Irish and Scottish flavors graced the O.C. Tanner Gift of Music Concert Oct. 22, 2005, when the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and the Utah Symphony combined with internationally renowned guest artists for "A Celtic Celebration."
Since 1983, the traditional concert has paired the choir and symphony every two years or so for a musical offering to the community funded through a trust bequeathed by prominent Salt Lake City jeweler Obert C. Tanner and his wife, Grace.
This year's concert featured Ronan Tynan, formerly a member of the Irish Tenors who has pursued a successful solo career, this after distinguishing himself as a Paralympic athlete with 18 gold medals and 14 world records who went on to attain a medical degree and specialize in sports medicine.
Also on hand was Leahy, a group of eight siblings from Nova Scotia (seven present for the concert) who dazzled the audience with their fiddle, guitar and drum playing, vocals and step dancing.
Complementing the lineup was the local Wasatch & District Pipe Band, a bagpipe group established in August 2004 in the Bountiful, Utah, area, which has already distinguished itself.
The symphony and choir began the program with a rendition of LeRoy Anderson's "The Irish Washerwoman" from "The Irish Suite," followed by "Homeward Bound," a selection on the choir's new CD "Love Is Spoken Here."
Mr. Tynan presented "Grace," a song about a woman who is married the day before losing her husband in death, and the upbeat "My Irish Molly-O." He also performed "Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears," a tribute to the legacy of Ellis Island, which he performed at a memorial service in September 2001 following the terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.
Later, in the program, he performed "God Bless America," in tribute to Old World emigrants who found refuge in the United States. As he does when he frequently performs the song for the baseball crowds at Yankee Stadium, he invited the Conference Center audience to sing along. And his rendition of "Danny Boy" he dedicated to President Gordon B. Hinckley, who was in the audience and for whom the song is a favorite.
Leahy drew several standing ovations with their performances of "Cape Breton Medley," "Borrowed Time" and "Orange Blossom Special," among other selections.
The pipe band performed "Highland Cathedral" and then was joined by all of the artists in a finale of "Thou Gracious God, Whose Mercy Lends," a selection on the choir's popular "Peace Like a River" CD.
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