published Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Celtic singer/harpist Órla Fallon opens Patten Performances


What: Patten Performances featuring Órla Fallon.

When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Where: UTC Fine Arts Center, corner of Vine and Palmetto streets.

Admission: $22 adults, $19 seniors, $15 students.

Phone: 425-4269.


If you find yourself dancing in the aisles or shedding a tear or two, don’t say you weren’t warned.

Órla Fallon, who will open the 2011-12 Patten Performances with a Tuesday concert in the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Fine Arts Center, apparently has that affect on audiences.

“I’ve been delighted at the responses,” she said. “They seem to like that personal touch. The Irish as a nation are good musicians but also good storytellers.”

The former singer/harpist with Celtic Woman said hers is a “very personal, intimate show” and that she is backed by “a brilliant band.” She plays harp on some songs.

Fallon said the show includes selections she used to do with Celtic Woman, stories and songs from her latest release, the biographical “My Land,” and a few American songs.

“You should see the way faces light up [at the familiar songs],” she said.

Fallon hails from the village of Knockananna in County Wicklow, Ireland, but spent many summers in County Kerry with her grandmother, her primary musical influence.

“A lot of the songs I sing in concert were songs she taught me,” she said. “She knew every song under the sun. She was always singing, teaching me songs and telling stories.”

Fallon, still an Ireland resident, said she taught school for six years before quitting to devote full time to her music. She played small concerts and corporate functions before her name was referred to David Downes, the Irish composer who is co-founder of Celtic Woman.

At Downes’ invitation, she joined Celtic Woman in 2004. Since she left the group in 2008, she has had several Public Broadcasting Service specials, including 2010’s “Órla Fallon’s Celtic Christmas” which was shot at Nashville’s Polk Theatre and featured Vince Gill, who she said had “thrilled her from the time [she] was a kid.”

Recording with the country star made her feel “like a little kid in a sweet shop,” she said.

Now in the midst of a 50-date tour, she is still thrilled and amazed at where the music takes her.

“It’s a great privilege,” she said. “When you visit, they pay their hard-earned money to hear you sing. You never take that for granted. I feel blessed by the opportunity.”

about Clint Cooper...

Clint Cooper is the faith editor and a staff writer for the Times Free Press Life section. He also has been an assistant sports editor and Metro staff writer for the newspaper. Prior to the merger between the Chattanooga Free Press and Chattanooga Times in 1999, he was sports news editor for the Chattanooga Free Press, where he was in charge of the day-to-day content of the section and the section’s design. Before becoming sports ...

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