From left, musicians John Walsh, Rose Flanagan and Pat Broaders perform at the annual Winter Concert of Traditional Irish Music at Kenai Peninsula College in Kenai, Alaska, on Feb. 1, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

From left, musicians John Walsh, Rose Flanagan and Pat Broaders perform at the annual Winter Concert of Traditional Irish Music at Kenai Peninsula College in Kenai, Alaska, on Feb. 1, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Irish Music Concert returns to Kenai Peninsula College

The concert will feature three Irish musicians, John Walsh, Pat Broaders and John Skelton.

This Friday marks the return of the annual Irish Music Concert hosted by Kenai Peninsula College.

The Winter Concert of Traditional Irish Music will feature the work of three Irish musicians, John Walsh, Pat Broaders and John Skelton, with Skelton making his debut at the college.

Walsh is a tenor banjo player originally from Ireland and has been a part of the annual concert since its inception. Walsh and Diane Sawyer, director of the Learning Center at Kenai Peninsula College, got to know each other when Walsh gave a presentation on the history of the Irish banjo to the Alaska Humanities Forum. Since then, Sawyer has invited Walsh to perform a free concert at the college every winter, and Walsh brings with him a rotating roster of fellow musicians.

Walsh worked as a commercial fisherman in Alaska for more than 30 years and returns to the state regularly to perform.

Broaders also makes a regular appearance at the annual concert, and this year will be his fourth year performing with Walsh at the college. Like Walsh, Broaders hails from Ireland, but his instrument of choice is the bouzouki, which he has been playing for 40 years. Bouzoukis are stringed instruments that were traditionally associated with Greek music, but musicians have been incorporating them into Irish tunes since the 1960s. Broaders is a member of the group Open the Door for Three, along with Kieran O’Hare and Liz Knowles.

Skelton, a newcomer to the annual Irish Music Concert, is a London-born flute player who currently lives in Kentucky. Skelton has been involved in several different projects throughout the years, including as a founding member of the band Shegui and a member of The House Band. Skelton has also recorded an album with fellow flautist O’Hare, a solo album called “One at a Time,” and a number of tune collection books.

The Winter Concert of Traditional Irish Music starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 24 in the Ward Building of KPC.

Sawyer said that it is best to come early, as the venue historically fills up quickly. Last year’s performance saw a full house, with many in the audience forced to stand for lack of seating.

The event is free and open to all ages, and the Kahtnu Yurartet Native dance group will be selling concessions to raise money for their dance program.

For more information, contact Sawyer at dttaylor@alaska.edu.

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