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First Fridays Event in December to Feature Local Scotting Fiddle Group

RELEASED: Nov. 21, 2008

EAU CLAIRE — The First Fridays program for senior citizens will present the Scottish fiddle group Anam Cara on Dec. 5.

A free continental breakfast will precede the formal program at Christ Church Cathedral, located on the corner of Lake and Farwell Streets in downtown Eau Claire. Doors will open for breakfast at 8:30 a.m., and the presentation will begin at 9 a.m.

Anam Cara, which means "soul friend" in Gaelic, is a folk ensemble specializing in 18th century Scottish and Irish music. The quintet is made up of Charles Carter, guitar and vocals; Anna Knutson, bohdran and vocals; Colleen McFarland, tin whistle; Bob Rademaker, violin; and Jeanne Swoboda, violin and vocals.

The ensemble came together almost by chance. Its first gathering occurred in October 2007 in the cathedral at Christ Church. Rademaker and Carter were jamming before choir practice when Knutson walked in and was invited to lend her voice to the guitar and violin duet on the Irish ballad "Star of the County Down." An ensemble was born, dedicated to rendering 18th and 19th century songs from England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales and North America.

Anam Cara began rehearsing at Christ Church Cathedral and made its first public appearance at the church's annual Mardi Gras celebration this past spring. The group acquired a bagpiper turned penny whistler this summer when Colleen McFarland joined, lending a new musical voice that has complemented and improved their sound.

Recent performing engagements included participating in open mic night at Eau Claire's Acoustic Café and performing at the Christ Church Cathedral sesquicentennial celebration.

For the safety of the program's senior citizen audience, the First Fridays event will be cancelled if the Eau Claire Area School District has cancelled or delayed classes in the case of hazardous weather.

First Fridays occurs on the first Friday of each month October through May, with the exception of January, at no cost to the senior community. Those who have season passes stamped each month will be eligible for a grand prize drawing at the May presentation. The program is funded in part by the UW-Eau Claire Foundation Community Outreach Program for the Arts, by contributions from the Great Harvest Bread Company and Elliot Roberts.

Now in its seventh season, First Fridays is coordinated by Jennifer Brockpahler and Amanda Seveland of the University Centers Activities and Programs office. It is hosted by Robert Rademaker, the dean of Christ Church Cathedral. Scott and Heather Kirby are First Fridays' community partners. The mission of First Fridays is to provide no-cost entertainment and educational experiences for senior citizens of the extended Chippewa Valley community through shared community and university sponsorship.

For more information about First Fridays or to be placed on a mailing list, call 715-836-2787 [ARTS].

-30-

JS/NW

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