Contributor photo: The Fitzgeralds will be the final act of the Gila Valley Arts Council season and perform Wednesday, March 6 at the David M. Player Center for the Arts, beginning at 7 p.m.
SAFFORD – The Gila Valley Arts Council is proud to present The Fitzgeralds, Wednesday, March 6 starting at 7 p.m. at the David M. Player Center for the Arts on the campus of Safford High School.
The Fitzgeralds are some of the most talented, energetic, lively, and authentic performers you will ever meet. This is a group of artists who truly love what they do and thrive on interacting with their audience. Presenters can expect a high-caliber, polished, varied and action-packed show, with a few awkwardness here and there. They even do step dancing and violin at the same time!
A family group of sibling violinists and step dancers – Tom, Kerry and Julie Fitzgerald. These siblings, hailing from Canada’s famed Ottawa Valley, have come a long way from their small-town roots. Featuring three-time Canadian fiddle grandmasters and Ontario Open Step Dance Champions, this unique act features energetic fiddle and breathtaking step dancing. It’s the rare combination of exceptional musicianship, unparalleled step dancing, audience interaction, obvious love of the stage, and true sibling bond that resonates with fans. an audience of all ages and sets this group apart.
The Fitzgerald siblings were raised in a musical family and toured internationally with their family band “Everything Fitz”. Growing up on the outskirts of the Ottawa Valley, they were immersed in the rich tradition of traditional Canadian fiddling and step dancing that evolved with the arrival of Irish, Scottish and French immigrants. Over time, they expanded their art form to include various styles of fiddle music, including Celtic, jazz, bluegrass, French Canadian, and pop. They also explored other dance forms, including tap and Irish. The siblings continue to push boundaries by fusing traditional and modern fiddle and dance styles to create their own unique sound and style. Their creativity and passion for experimentation led them to compose original tunes and arrangements, some of which were released on their latest album. The result is a groovy, eye-catching new sound and look that appeals to all ages.
Julie Fitzgerald is a two-time Canadian Grandmaster Violin Champion, as well as a two-time Open Step Dance Champion. She has had the opportunity to perform internationally with many of her lifelong musical “idols”, including Leahy, Natalie MacMaster, members of Stepcrew & Bowfire, Troy MacGillivray and Wayne Rostad. While touring with The StepCrew, Julie also had the opportunity to share the stage with Sharon Shannon, We Banjo 3, Carlos Nunez, Solas and Eileen Ivers.
Julie graduated from Humber College (Toronto) with the Bachelor of Music program. Julie’s love for transmitting traditional Canadian music and dance led to the creation of her first (and certainly not the last!) instructional jig DVD. Whenever she takes a break from touring, Julie gives private dance and violin lessons to students in the Peterborough area. Because of her experience as a touring musician, she realizes how many people across North America are initiated and interested in learning more about Canadian jigging. In response to this observation, she now offers online jigging lessons directly from her website!
Kerry Fitzgerald is a fiddler and step dancer originally from Bancroft, ON, Canada, now based in Toronto, ON. Her musical roots are the fiddle and the jig in the Ottawa Valley. She also explored Celtic and other folk styles. Her performing career began at a young age with her family band, Everything Fitz, which took her on several major North American tours.
In addition to performing, Kerry teaches music workshops, private lessons, and music camps, including Leahy Music Camp, AlgomaTrad, and Orangeville Fiddle Camp. On the competitive stage, she is an Ontario Open Step Dance Champion and Canadian Grandmaster Violin Finalist. She now judges fiddle and jig competitions, including the Ontario Open competition. In addition to touring, Kerry experiments with electronic arrangements of original fiddle tunes. She is currently collaborating with DJ/Producer, Jay Andrews, on his “Shreem” project. Between tours, she completed a double major in kinesiology and food and nutrition at Western University.
Tom Fitzgerald is an accomplished musician from Bancroft, Ontario. While much of his attention has been directed to studying the violin, Tom is equally accomplished on guitar, mandolin and as a step dancer. He is a Canadian Master Violin Grand Champion (2012) and a Canadian Open Violin Champion (2012) and has performed with Natalie MacMaster, Leahy, Nathan Carter, Tommy Hunter, Tony McManus, Brian Finnegan, Wayne Rostad, We Banjo 3 and others. . Growing up in the center of the Ottawa Valley, Tom was immersed in the rich tradition of traditional Canadian fiddling and step dancing that evolved with the arrival of Irish, Scottish and French immigrants. However, over the years it has absorbed other musical styles and traditions such as Celtic, Country, Bluegrass, Swing, Jazz, R&B and Classical, allowing it to adapt effortlessly. almost any musical situation.
In 2017, Tom completed the Bachelor of Music program at Humber College in Toronto, Ontario, where he studied jazz violin. In his senior year, Tom recorded a three-track EP, which you can find on his website. Tom continues to develop his craft and is currently working on a full solo album, available in the distant, distant future. When not on tour he also teaches privately and has been an instructor at various music camps/workshops across Canada including Leahy Music Camp, Algoma Trad, Smithers BC, Orangeville Fiddle Camp and Goderich Celtic College .
Tickets are on sale now at Richards Music, 928-428-2442, online at www.saffordcenterforthearts.com or at the door. Adult ticket prices are only $10 or $15 and are all reserved seats. GVAC is proud to offer special prices for children and students for only $5.
The GVAC Fine Arts Concert Series is supported by its members. We graciously thank our individual donors who join each year as sustaining members by giving from their personal pockets. Membership can go from as low as $25, but every dollar is spent on bringing artists here to not only perform a concert, but to spend an extra day or two working with our school kids with music workshops and school shows. This school residency and public performance project was made possible through funding received from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, WESTAF (Western States Federation of the Arts), and the National Endowment for the Arts. GVAC is also very grateful for the support received from United Way of Graham and Greenlee Counties, Freeport McMoRan Corporation, The Flinn Foundation and Arizona Community Foundation of the Gila Valley. For further information, please call Tom Green at 928-428-0081.
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