Musician’s March Madness: NTIF

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For a Celtic band, there are fewer busier months in the year than March. Many festivals like having their programs right around Saint Patrick’s Day.

March of 2017 has been busier than usual for your favorite intrepid trio. Starting off our Musician’s March Madness this year, the three Musical Musketeers rode (or flew) off to fair Dallas for one of North America’s biggest Celtic festivals of the year: The North Texas Irish Festival.

Sprawling across Fair Park, NTIF holds a special place in our hearts. This year, Aunt Jeanne’s sister and brother-in-law graciously opened up their home to us again. It was so nice for Aunt Jeanne, Aunt Karen and I to finish our ten-hour drive with a warm, loving welcome. Due to work, Natasha had to fly in the next day. She was just in time for us to have a quick warm up before we headed down to the Campbell Center’s Double Tree Hotel. From there, we caught a shuttle that took us all the way to the fair grounds. After finding the first of our three stages this year, we had a few minutes to relax and do a short, experimental Facebook Live before the first performance of what was dubbed our “Musician’s March Madness.”

After a fun-filled evening with the friends and family who had come to see us, we stopped off in one of our favorite places at NTIF: the Instrument Check-In! If you have ever had to lug even a smaller instrument around a fairgrounds, you will appreciate how much I loved being able to keep my big, lumbering keyboard case in a guarded room all weekend! It saved me many hours of aching muscles.

The wonderful volunteers at the Instrument Check-In have become special friends to us over the past two years. Several of them recognized us from last year, and we made even more friends throughout the weekend. Several of them were even able to come see our last performance of the festival on Sunday! Many of them musicians themselves, they knew how to take very good care of us. They even shared their privately-stocked snack table every time we came in and out.

The following two days were filled with music, laughter, driving, videos, lessons on tweeting from the masterful Mama K (who we were thrilled was able to join us!), and I’m pretty sure there was sleep somewhere in there.

Another highlight of the weekend was getting to help lead worship at First United Methodist Church. The new pastor there is a good friend of Jeanne’s sister and brother-in-law. We had some time Sunday morning before we needed to be at NTIF, so we were able to have an encouraging morning of worship and fellowship and Pastor Jack and his wife joined us for lunch after the service. Having some Celtic ancestry, they have a special connection with the Celtic flavor of our music. It was very pleasant to be able to connect with the people there.

As we readied for the drive home to Albuquerque, New Mexico, (and Natasha got ready for her flight back), we all reminisced over the weekend and agreed it was a strong beginning to our Musician’s March Madness.

The Three Musical Musketeers are starting off on their next adventure!

—Bria

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