Once again, the St. Mary’s Pavilion in Barnesville was the scene of the RKIDs’ End of the Year Party. No one seems to know just how many times we have done this, but on and off over the last 28 years, we have rocked the hall with the sounds of great Irish music and dancing. This year was no exception. Tina Eck, Joe DeZarn, and Jesse Winch provided lively tunes for the dancers and Larry Frank called out the steps with precision.
Maura, our coordinator extraordinaire, honored Willie for his commitment to raising money for Epilepsy research, Chuck and Maureen for their continued efforts to provide a great performance to our audiences, Marilyn O for her work on social events, Kate for her support behind the scenes, to Sonja for her valuable assistance throughout the year, and to Maddy for helping to edit Blarney and assisting the RKIDs secretary. The event doesn’t happen without the commitment of many members. Thanks go out to the set up and clean up committees, to Diane for tending to the door, to Ann Marie R for supervising the raffle, to Dan M for conducting the 50/50, to Dan O’C for his contribution to the silent auction, and to Maura’s husband, Larry, who supported her every step of the way. It was a great evening and a wonderful way to bring to a close another year of Irish dancing.
Performance Group Leaders
Maureen and Chuck
The Frederick Keys finally produced a rousing game full of hits, runs, and scores for the Ring of Kerry Irish Dancers on Saturday, June 1. Christine, David M and Kathy O, Chuck and Maureen, Toni and David with some relatives, Bill and Maddy, Marilyn and Obie, Marilyn W. and Bob B., Kate and Dan, and Tom and Sonja cheered on the local team as they took on the Lynchburg Hillcats. Afterwards, the fireworks capped off a great evening. According to Bob B, “These were the best fireworks I’ve ever seen.”
Elephants, hippos, crocodiles, leopards, cheetahs, baboons and wildebeest! These animals and many more grabbed the attention of Bill, Maddy, Obie, and Marilyn while they were on a safari in the southern African countries of Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia in May. Marilyn's favorite African tree, the Baobab, made numerous appearances. Along with two other friends, Jim and Barbara, they joined the Overseas Adventure Travel’s Ultimate Africa tour, spending many days driving through grasslands and woodlands, as well as boating on rivers, seeing these and other magnificent creatures. The tour included a surprise visit by a group of warthogs (later they learned it's called a sounder) on a helipad, just before takeoff for a tour of Victoria Falls:
The American group had the privilege of interacting with many Africans in their villages and schools, in addition to staff members at their camping sites. Much was learned about the cultures via lectures, conversations, shopping in neighborhood markets, singing, and dancing. During a talent show, the four RKIDs danced the Siege of Ennis, aided by four other tour members and a cellphone's music player. At night, it was quite an experience to see the Southern Cross and be serenaded by rampaging hormonally-supercharged impalas, and nearby roaring lions and snorting hippos. One of the highlights was seeing leopards stalking impalas, then giving up after an impala warned his friends in the herd.
“It was an experience of a lifetime,” exclaimed Maddy!
In early May, Tom and Sonja flew to Arizona. One of the places they visited was Tonto National Forest. Sonja loves the desert flora and was particularly enamored with the saguaros, those lofty cacti with arms.
Lovebirds Evan and Sandy, celebrated 42 years of marital bliss in New York City where they saw The Ferryman, a play hosting “… a 30-plus member cast (including adorable children and animals) and Irish traditions, as themes of family tension, sexual heat, divisive politics and betrayal come to climax in an unsparing finale” wrote amNY Theater Critic Matt Windman. Evan's critique: "it was a great kickass Irish play.”
Maura and Larry are proud to announce the graduation of their daughter, Jasmin, from the Naval Academy Preparatory School in Rhode Island. The beaming parents attended the ceremony as well as the graduation ball which was held at the Rosecliff Manor in Newport. Congratulations go out to Jasmin on her achievement!
Dan and Kate have a new address! They have moved to a lovely three bedroom duplex in Leisure World and are eagerly expecting to sell their home in Rockville soon. It's been a lot of work, but one-level living looks very appealing. All our best goes out to the neighborhood newcomers.
Gaithersburg held its Tenth Annual Book Festival on Saturday, May 18th. Alison reported, “It was hot, but that didn’t stop me from being at the book festival all day. So many authors and a few poets. At 6 pm there was a concert at the band shell by Erin Willett….A bookstore called Politics and Prose had a tent where you could buy any of the authors’ books. It is worthwhile to go….next year’s festival will be May 16, 2020.” Alison saw some authors discussing their books, taking questions, and autographing their books. She caught up with Marie V and Bobbie early in the day. Alison plans to definitely attend the festival next year.
Some of you will remember that in 2001 the RKIDs celebrated their tenth anniversary at the Hill Top House Hotel in Harpers Ferry, WV. It was a raucous time with a morning run, a walking tour of Harpers Ferry, workshops throughout the day, happy hours, movies, and ceilis in the evening. Those of us who were there have fond memories of a fun-filled weekend. Since then we have not been able to return to the 120+ year old Hill Top because it has been closed for years. The place has fallen into disrepair and many expected that it would be torn down. However, a report in the Loudoun Times-Mirror on May 9th said that “a signature full-service restaurant … with Chef Jose Andres” plans to open at the Hill Top in 2022. “In addition to rebuilding the 122-room main hotel, the estimated $70 million project includes a chef’s garden, spa and infinity pool … and an art and photography school.” Sounds like it might be a little too swanky for the RKIDs to return for another party, but nothing will shake the fond memories we have of our tenth anniversary celebration.