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Opera Students Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Irish Music

The+Fresno+City+College+Opera+perform+a+traditional+Irish+song+in+honor+of+St.+Patrick%27s+Day+at+the+FCC+Recital+Hall+on+March+17.+
The Fresno City College Opera perform a traditional Irish song in honor of St. Patrick's Day at the FCC Recital Hall on March 17.

The Fresno City College Opera perform a traditional Irish song in honor of St. Patrick's Day at the FCC Recital Hall on March 17.

Photo by: Jose Serrano

Photo by: Jose Serrano

The Fresno City College Opera perform a traditional Irish song in honor of St. Patrick's Day at the FCC Recital Hall on March 17.

Story By: Jose Serrano, Reporter

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St. Patrick’s Day is a holiday that attracts parades filled with four-leaf clovers and green clothing as its main event, however, Fresno City College took a different approach.

The FCC Opera honored St. Patrick’s Day with a musical performance consisting of traditional Irish songs on March 17 in the Recital Hall.

With the help of Irish music specialist Russell Noland, the students learned and performed Irish folk songs dating back to the 1700s, and some as recent as 2015 that are popular in Ireland.

The show started off with a lesson on Irish hospitality and the tradition of joining together in song.

After this, the song “Black Velvet Band” was sung which despite its jolliness, is a song about betrayal. Betrayal was a common theme through the night, as most of the songs were explaining a sad story.

“The Fields of Athenry” tells the story of a man who is sent to a prison colony overseas during the decade of the Irish Potato Famine after stealing food to feed his family.

However, not all songs were somber. Some were quite humorous, including “Seven Drunken Nights” which is about a drunken Irishman who slowly realizes over a week his wife is cheating on him when everything he owns is slowly replaced by similar items that he knows doesn’t belong to him.

Some of the more recent songs include “Dreams,” a song performed by the Irish rock band the Cranberries, and was performed in the memory of singer Dolores O’Riordan, who died in January.

After a full setlist of traditional music, the night ended with “Parting Glass,” the traditional Irish parting song.

The event was well received by those who came to watch it. This was in part due to the interaction between the performers and the audience.

Noland made sure to joke around with the audience in a friendly manner. Opera Director Melissa Wolfman let the audience know that this is to show the sense of community within Irish culture.

“Everyone is supposed to be on the same level, unlike other performances like ballet where it’s a higher art form, you admire from afar where you can never participate,” Wolfman said, “but for St. Patrick’s Day everything is supposed to be communal, everyone is supposed to come together.”

 

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Opera Students Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with Irish Music