Although bad weather was predicted, the sun was shining as about 130 people enjoyed some cheery Irish entertainment at Maple Tree Place. Lawn chairs and blankets sprinkled the green as the audience lounged with their coolers and umbrellas in tow.
Young and old alike were captivated by the music of Trinity, a pair of fellows that played generally upbeat Irish tunes, encouraging the audience to heartily clap along while children danced in the open space.
Trinity brought a number of different instruments into their performance, including guitars, a fiddle, an aluminum whistle and a hand drum, to name a few. A favorite song of mine was "The Little Beggar Man," a jolly little tune about, - what else? - a little beggar man. Other songs addressed more serious subjects, such as famine, stealing and rebellion.
As a former Irish step dancer myself, I was excited to see two girls wearing green shirts and black skirts as members of the Green Mountain Irish Step Dancers. They performed two dances - first a soft-shoe reel, then a hard-shoe hornpipe - while Trinity provided the music.
With high kicks, perfectly straight arms and bouncy hair, Gerlisa and Dylan impressed the large crowd as they moved about the stage with speedy feet. Talking to the two girls afterwards, I learned that both of them have been dancing for about six years, and that they perform with Trinity once a month at the Lincoln Inn in Essex Junction.
The concert, part of Maple Tree Place's "Groovin' on the Green" summer concert series, also served a philanthropic mission: It kicked off the "Back to School Shoe Shuffle," a fundraiser for the Lund Family Center. Audience members were asked to "pick a child" from a large cardboard tree next to the stage, and to cover the cost of a new pair of shoes for him or her before the start of the new school year.
This spirit of giving, combined with the energetic music and dance, left me thinking, éirinn go Brách - Ireland forever!