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By Laura Drinan
Hometown Weekly Reporter
At the Westwood Public Library, locals crowded into the Community Room, dragging chairs from the lobby to enjoy a special concert from the New England Irish Harp Orchestra (NEIHO).
The Celtic-inspired group features nearly a dozen harpers, as well as a uilleann pipes player, a fiddler, a woodwind player, and a musician playing the bones.
Under the direction of Regina Delaney, who sported a long, green scarf, the NEIHO musicians played a variety of Celtic waltzes, slip jigs, and hornpipes, which all received an overwhelmingly positive response from the audience.
Taking a brief break from music, one harper recited a poem that he had written about replacing power with flower and spreading peace around the world. Regina, along with two other musicians, performed “The Briar and the Rose” to show the audience the variety of talents the harpers possessed.
After the intermission, one of the musicians demonstrated her storytelling abilities with a tale about fairies, which was accompanied by sound effects on the harp.
The Westwood Cultural Council and the Friends of the Westwood Public sponsored the concert after hearing about it from members of the Westwood Women’s Club.
“We wanted to get them for the Women’s Club, but we’re a smaller group, so I suggested them to [Library Director Tricia Perry] because they do so much to bring the community in,” said Margaret Rustrian, President of the Women’s Club and a member of the Cultural Council. “This just seemed like the right thing around St. Patty’s Day.”
NEIHO doesn’t exclusively play around St. Patrick’s Day, though. They perform year-round in New England and have been touring for the past six years. Amazingly, one of the harpers recently celebrated his 92 birthday and continues to play and tour with the group.
While the NEIHO musicians did not bring any leprechauns or pots of gold with them to the concert, they proved through their instruments that Ireland is home to beautiful traditional folk music for all to enjoy.