Crescenta Valley Is Treated to a Wee Bit of the Irish Soul

The thought of Ireland conjures images of green rolling hills, welcoming pubs, and beautiful haunting music that draws inspiration from the soul of the Irish people.

Crescenta Valley residents got to sample that music by Noel Hill, a master of the art of the concertina.

Hill not only shares his music by playing professionally but also has a music school in Conamara where he met Crescenta Valley residents Debbie and Chris Kollgaard. They were there to study with Hill and were so impressed by his music they invited him to La Crescenta.

"This is my first time in Southern California," said Hill. He has been staying with the Kollgaards for about a month. It was through them that the Monday's concert at St. Lukes of the Mountain Episcopal Church was arranged.

Hill began playing as a child in his hometown of Conamara in County Galway, Ireland.

"[Concertina] music was very common in the area where I was raised. It was said that every second house in the county had a concertina," said Hill.

Hill grew up with a strong love of Irish music and tradition. The music he plays comes from Irelands past, handed down generation to generation not through sheet music but from musician to musician.

Audience members Monday were tapping their feet to traditional Irish music. Through Hill's artistry the concertina became a magically bridge to Irelands past and reminded one of the influence the Irish had in America. But it was the slow melodic music that really brought meaning to his timeless skills, inspired by the very heart of Ireland through time of suffering and loss with incredible courage and perseverance. In his hands the concertina is an ambassador between Ireland and the world.

Hill has a new CD available. For information on Hill, his concert dates, or CD sales go to www.noelhill.com.

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