It’ll be an old-school Irish throwdown this weekend, as Detroit music instructor Mick Gavin celebrates his 20th annual Crossroads Ceili — and its 10th year at The Ark in Ann Arbor.
“It’s an old Irish tradition between Christmas and New Year’s,” Gavin says of the Ceili (pronounced KAY-lee), “to celebrate the harvest and close out the past year and hope that we’ll have the same good year this coming year as we had this past year.”
The Crossroads, Gavin says, were where residents of the small farms in rural Ireland would gather at some designated point between the holidays.
“They’d meet at the nearest crossroads,” he says, “and sing and dance and play their instruments all night long. It’s quite the celebration.”
That’s certainly his plan for the two nights of Ceili at the Ark this weekend. Bronx-born Brian Conway, a New York City prosecuting attorney by day who’s also a three-time gold medalist in the All-Ireland fi ddle competition, is making his second visit to the local Ceili, along with pianist Barbara Mangone. Both will offer workshops in addition to their performances.
The bill also includes percussive dancer Nick Gareiss, while Gavin, who operates the Mick Gavin School of Music in Detroit and was recently inducted into the Irish Music Hall of Fame, will perform with some of his students, as well as with sons Michael and Sean. Step dancers from the John Heinzman School of Dance also will perform.
The Crossroads Ceili takes place at 7:30 Friday and Saturday (December 29th and 30th) at The Ark, 316 S. Main St., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $15. Call (734) 761-1451 or visit www.theark.org. For information on the Conway and Mangone workshops, call (313) 537-3489.