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Third annual Halfway to Ren Faire show

Celtic Legacy and Pandora Celtica

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The third annual Kilt Nyte Out and Halfway to the Rensaissance Festival show was quite a success by all accounts. Kilts were in abundance, Rennies were everywhere, and the two groups who performed delighted the audience, each in a unique way.

Celtic Legacy delight the audience with powerful rhythms and tunes
Celtic Legacy delight the audience with powerful rhythms and tunesMichael P. Thompson

The evening's entertainment started with Pandora Celtica, a staple of the Renaissance community in the Denver area. Their loyal faeries and dancers were well in evidence and they were in good form. This group specializes in very tight a capella harmonies. Their only instrumentation is a djembe played by ShadowCat, the group's tenor, and the occasional tambourine, bones or other jangly bits played by Nessa, Rubiee, and September. The group is rounded out with the awesome bass voice of Requiem. You can check out their web site for more information about the members.

This group won the Colorado Irish Festival's Battle of the Bands two years ago, despite not being a traditional Irish band. Though they don't really fit any preconceived genre, they are definitely worth a listen if you get the chance. Performing a combination of traditional, historical, and original songs, they delight audiences and have a loyal following who turn out at their events.

After two sets by Pandora Celtica, Celtic Legacy, another fixture of the Colorado Renaissance Festival took the stage, with their own completely different style of music. The high energy bagpipes of Ben Holmes formed a fitting complement to the resounding drums of the group he has assembled over the years. Ben has been playing the Ren Faire for nearly thirty years now and is widely known as one of the best bagpipers in Colorado. He is a certified judge and performs and evaluates bagpipe competitions according to the technical rules of this traditional music. And yet, when he performs with Celtic Legacy, he seems to delight in surprising the audience with tunes and techniques that others would not think possible on the 9-note Great Highland Bagpipes, such as Tequila and The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

Ben has gone through plenty of other musicians in his tenure with this band, but his current lineup fit him and his style well. Roy Durbin not only plays Japanese Taiko drums in the ensemble, but joins Ben for bagpipe duets from time to time. Big Mike McIntyre slams a resounding beat with the best of them, alongside his long-time friend Joshua Thompson, who delights on the Toupan and even sings a few songs that delight the audience, including his own original material. Donald Fuhrman uses multiple drums on stands to add his unique rhythms to the performance with a great degree of virtuosity, and Matt Glascoe completes the group with guitar excellence.

Celtic Legacy are known for their powerful rhythms and music that can be heard nearly anywhere in the Ren Faire area, even over more amplified performers. They do many traditional Celtic tunes, some original music, and adaptations of well-known songs from other genres, along with comedic bantering that delights their audience.

Both these groups are well worth watching. Be sure to visit the Colorado Renaissance Festival this summer and experience their music.