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Engaging the youth: 19th Annual Celtic Festival hosts free youth arts program Oct. 2

Laura Petersen
Special to The Union
A free Youth Arts Program will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 2 for young people age 10 – 18 interested in art, music, dance and magic and is the kickoff for the 19th Annual KVMR Celtic Festival held at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.
Submitted by Mike Shea |

About five years ago, longtime KVMR broadcaster Laurie DesJardins became involved with a program designed to get more young people engaged with the radio station’s popular Celtic Festival.

“We didn’t have anything targeting teenagers or tweens. This is a way for us to fill that need,” said DesJardins of the festival’s Friday Youth Program.

The free Youth Arts Program — an evening of music, magic, dance and art instruction — is expected to draw 75 to 125 participants age 10 to 18 from 4 to 7 p.m. on Oct. 2 to the 19th Annual KVMR Celtic Festival at the Nevada County Fairgrounds.

“It’s a really nice way to start the festival weekend. I think kids come out learning something,” DesJardins said.

Young people will learn from world-class artists and festival headliners and can take one to three 50-minute consecutive workshops of their choice on the Friday before the festival starts. It’s an exciting time, buzzing with activity, as organizers transform the fairgrounds into a mythical setting with numerous booths and stages.

Outside in the Oak Grove, young attendees can learn Collage and Painting the Celtic Knot with local teacher Christine Nys from Nevada City School of the Arts.

The band, Looney’s Fortune from Los Angeles, will be on hand to perform and teach a traditional Celtic tune.

“You don’t have to be a musician, you just have to bring your voice and partner in song,” said DesJardins.

Back by popular demand is Murloch the Magician Silvermaine with two workshops. Murloch will teach two professional quality fully scripted card magic routines. Only 30 seats are available for both sessions and preregistration is suggested.

For young musicians who want to bring an instrument, multi-instrumentalist Colin Cotter and performer and composer Ryan McKasson will teach two workshops, “Learn a Tune” and “Arrange a Tune.” By the end of the workshops, young musicians will perform a tune they learned.

Bringing her 20 years of dance experience, instructor Melissa O’Sullivan will teach Irish Step Dancing to beginners.

In an effort to encourage more families to attend the festival, organizers are making it more affordable, by offering a discounted youth day pass for $5 to attendees of Friday’s Youth Program. The day pass can be used on Saturday or Sunday at the festival.

Families who want to continue the fun on Friday night can purchase tickets to the Ceilidh — an evening of Celtic music and dance featuring Reel of Seven and internationally acclaimed dance caller Linda Henderson. Food and beverages will be available for sale or families can bring picnic dinners.

Now in its 19th year, KVMR’s largest fundraiser of the year — the Celtic Festival held Oct. 2 – 4 — will be a weekend of music, pageantry, living history, fire breathing dragons, animals, costumes, food and a sense of wonder and community sharing, said DesJardins.

“I can not think of a better weekend for families. There is so much to do.”

Learn more and register for youth programs at http://kvmrcelticfestival.org/

Contact freelance writer Laura Petersen at laurapetersen310@gmail.com or 530-913-3067.

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