It’s been a while since our last update! Our “webmaster”, Emily, is busy being a wife, mother, homemaker and musician, leaving little time for extras. This summer little Aiden will turn two and will also become a big brother. We are excited about expanding the family once again! Christy attempts to keep us caught up with the schedule page at least, but as a high school senior, has her hands full. She returned to dance school this past summer at Paloma School of Irish dance and is currently studying for her TCRG as an accredited Irish dance teacher. She is getting plenty of practice teaching Irish dance at two homeschool co-ops, and loving it. She says she enjoys bossing her students around. :) Melissa continues to study music in her spare time and teaches fiddle and Irish whistle as well. Brian is loving his job as a painter since graduating high school spring of 2014. Zach is happily practicing on his new “Kain” fiddle from Country String Shop between regular school work. Christy became the proud new owner of a cello from the same shop a few months ago. You may soon see it on a stage near you! Alex is our only elementary school student and adds daily to his repertoire on his fiddle. We are all looking forward to a busy spring and summer performing and traveling.
When we are not working or gigging, we continue pursuing our love of the outdoors, hiking, biking, and canoeing and camping in our beautiful Pennsylvania mountains and streams. Last spring Nelson took Elijah, Brian, Christy, Zach and Alex on a 5 day canoe excursion into the wilds of the Adirondacks. At the beginning of this year, four of our family members spent 9 days in balmy Costa Rica, supporting local churches with construction and VBS. They got several chances to share Celtic music with the local community throughout the week. Another hobby Christy and I share is our love of art, both of us winning some small art competitions.
Some of our musical highlights of 2014 included Melissa taking a first in her division at local fiddle competition, the band enjoying new places and old around the state and the east coast, and finishing up the year with two concerts in December with Rebel Heart Irish dancers and Seasons music. We look forward to more traveling in 2015.
All three girls are enjoying a new twist in their journey of music, having formed a Western Swing band called, “The Martin Sisters Band”, along with friends of the family, Butch Imhoff and Eric Fisher. You can find them at martinsistersband.com or on Facebook.
2014 marked a big milestone in the life of the Celtic Martins. We celebrated the anniversary of ten years of performing with a small party at our house, displaying old pictures and Christy’s first Irish dance dress, and finishing the evening playing some of our very first tunes from 10 years ago. It was both hilarious and sentimental. We will always hold warm memories in our hearts of the people we have met and places we have been. We are thankful for the experiences that music has given us and how it has drawn our family together.
Looking forward to meeting old friends and new throughout 2015!
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Another year has passed, and many days and miles are behind us, while we look forward to whatever lies ahead. Amazingly, our youngest, Alex just turned 11. Two little grandsons help to fill in the gap of childhood that Alex is leaving behind. Aiden, 3 ½, is officially taking fiddle lessons from Aunt Melissa, although she is lucky to have a lesson last 10 minutes! He has outgrown his first fiddle and graduated to 1/8th size. He is getting quite tall and Callum at 1 ½ is also a big boy for his age.
2015 proved to be a year of new things and new places. The biggest event, of course, was Callum’s arrival. As it turned out, he was VERY late and came during the night between the Celtic Oyster Festival and the New Holland Concert series. I raced over to their house to stay with Aiden; all went quickly and well and I was privileged to be the first one to see the new baby when they brought him home.
A few weeks later the rest of us left for a two week trip to Montana to take part in the Bitterroot Valley Celtic festival. The trip doubled as a “working” tour and vacation, not to mention the wonderful time we had visiting with my sister and her family. We also played at several nursing homes in the area, and then a couple of shows in Omaha on our way home. The vacation part included the beautiful Black Hills, Badlands, Glacier, Yellowstone, the Tetons, and numerous other lovely places along the way. The kids enjoyed “getting into” nature a bit, with swimming the cool, clear rivers, hiking into the mountains, as well as camping and cooking out. The two weeks were way too short and we hope to return sometime.
Spring 2016 found us again heading west, this time “only” as far as Omaha. My aunt and uncle loved having us so much in August, they invited us to play at their fundraiser dinner for Transport for Christ in April, which went very well. This time Emily and Elijah were able to go with us and the boys traveled quite well. Though unfortunately it was cool and rainy much of the trip, making our “cook-outs” less enjoyable, we were able to take in the Strategic Air Command museum indoors, which was quite fascinating. On the way back we stayed at a cute little motel along Lake Erie. The sun came out enough to make it a pleasant interlude in the trip, and I spotted a Scarlet Tanager singing in a tree just outside our window in the morning before we left.
We were honored to again be invited to participate in the Smoky Mountain Highland Games in May. We have made some wonderful friends in the area and were also surprised to have our PA friends, the Werley’s, show up during one of our shows! We stayed at a cabin this time in the Smoky’s, just a half hour away from the festival. After our last show at the festival, we piled in and hurried to Greenville to play at Pastor Lee and Judy Harrison’s church, after which we again enjoyed their wonderful hospitality in their ever-improving, hand built cordwood home on top of one of the many Tennessee hills.
Kutztown Folk Festival got off to a rough start…and continued that way throughout the week. Callum wound up in the hospital with pneumonia, while both an upper respiratory and stomach bug traveled through the rest of the family. I think the whole family made it on stage at once only twice out of our 19 shows. We managed to keep going however, and it was probably a good experience to see what we can pull off with various band members missing and to learn endurance to push through. Nelson and Melissa get the prize for being the only members to have never missed a show since the bands inception in 2004!
2016 proved to be a year of traveling, although not as far as Montana this time. We visited every corner of beautiful PA and several places between and beyond. Appropriately, Alex will be studying PA History next semester and will have seen with his own eyes the Allegheny’s, the Endless Mountains, the Poconos and old city Philadelphia, to name a few. What better can we do than what we love best, playing music and enjoying Creation while we do it?
Keep posted for more events…we have an exciting year ahead. Christy is now offering Irish dance instruction in our area, and Melissa continues to teach fiddle, guitar and Irish whistle. We try to keep our schedule page current, so check it out and come see us at one of our shows.