Seamus Kennedy concert supports local literacy

Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2008


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  With "A Smile and a Tear," Seamus Kennedy performs to a sold out crowd at the Crossing in Soldotna.

Seamus Kennedy with concert organizer Mike Sweeney as they prepare for the Tuesday evening concert at the Crossing.

Tuesday night’s Seamus Kennedy concert at the Crossing in Soldotna was a sell out for the Irishman who loves to return to Alaska because of people like Michael Sweeney who promotes his annual trip to the Peninsula, “It’s been about 18 years now and what I truly love about coming here is how friendly and outgoing the Alaskan people are especially in the dead of winter. Alaskans don’t let the weather get them down and you’ve got to admire that spirit. It’s probably due to the ice leprechaun in front of Mike Sweeney’s store, they’re good luck you know and actually here in the North your good luck fairy little people are really billycans, leprechauns are found in Ireland and they get frozen here in Alaska, but the billycans do quite nicely,” Kennedy told the Dispatch. When asked how to properly wish upon a frozen leprechaun when seen in Alaska Kennedy replied, “Well if its like the one in front of Sweeney’s of course you should fill his mug with beer and don’t pass it through your kidneys first!”


With "A Smile and a Tear," Seamus Kennedy performs to a sold out crowd at the Crossing in Soldotna.

Kennedy says he actually started out to be a linguist before he turned Irish entertainer some 40 years ago, “I started out studying languages and wanted to be a translator at the United Nations and became fluent in French and Italian and also speak a little Gaelic but when that fell through I ended up as a professional Irish entertainer,” said Seamus. Prior to returning to Alaska Kennedy was on an Irish cruise of the Caribbean with Fiona Malloy who was also in Alaska last summer. Next on Kennedy’s itinerary is the Irish folk festival in Texas, “We’re everywhere you know ,just look for the Guinness, the shamrock, a harp and a leprechaun and you’ll find us singing and drinking,” added Kennedy. Kennedy says he has a new CD coming out in March of Sea Faring songs about sailors and their ships, Kennedy also has written a new book that includes some Alaskan stories, “A group of us who have been performing together for the last 35 years got together and put down tales of our adventures and misadventures of our experiences on the road.”

The sellout concert will again benefit the Kenai Peninsula Literacy programs for elementary schools of the Peninsula including K-Beach, Redoubt, and Soldotna Elementary schools. In addition to the concert at the Crossing, Kennedy performed at K-Beach Elementary school Tuesday. More than 20 local businesses helped Sweeney sponsor the Kennedy Literacy concert.

March 17th the annual Sweeney’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade sponsored by the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce will include a traditional corned beef dinner at the Soldotna Senior Center with entertainment that will get underway at 5:30pm. The Dinner is being catered this year by the Soldotna Seniors and proceeds will help fund their activities. The parade is open to all who wish to participate and no registration is required, “It’s a come as you are event, simply line up in front of Bailey’s at 4:00pm and the parade will head down the Sterling Highway to the “Y” at 4:30p.m.that Monday afternoon,” said Michelle Glaves, Soldotna Chamber executive director.

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