By Jennifer C. Vergara
Saturday night at the Religious
Education Congress will be like any other Saturday night
– one big party.
At least that’s what Bob Halligan
and his Celtic pop-rock music group Ceili Rain are
planning it to be.
Halligan, in a phone interview with
The Tidings, said their name says it all. “Ceili” is a
Gaelic word at “means a sort of-wedding reception, a
party with live music and dancing.” “Ceili” is also very
close to the Latin word “Coeli,” which stands for
heaven. “So `Ceili Rain’ is a downpour of heavenly
partiness,” laughed Halligan.
“We consider it our purpose to put
people in better shape when they leave than when they
came in,” said Halligan, adding that one of the original
songs they use to turn sitters into dancers is called
“Do it Anyway.”
“ ‘You’re scared to put your face
in the water, do it anyway. You’re scared to color
outside-the border, do it anyway.’ It’s meant to be an
encouragement to ourselves and to others that fear is to
be fought off and overcome,” he explained.
Ceili Rain, which is based in
Nashville, Tenn., consists of seven talented musicians
who blend rock ‘n’ roll with Celtic music, with “an
emphasis on the pop, Beatle-y kind of songwriting.” The
group uses instruments that range from a fiddle to
button accordion to electric lead guitar. The group was
formed six years ago by Halligan, a professional
composer for the likes of Cher, Michael Bolton and KISS,
and whose songs, as recorded by other artists, have sold
almost 30 million records cumulatively.
In addition to Ceili Rain, Congress
will present several artists and music groups in
performances throughout the weekend, providing lunchtime
and evening entertainment. Among them:
• Jesse Manibusan, Helena Buscema
& Friends, Feb.16, 11:45 a.m. Manibusan – a singer,
songwriter and guitarist whose latest recording is
called “Power of Peace” – will also present a workshop
on multiculturalism and the Catholic church during the
Feb. 15 Youth Day Congress.
• A musical revue of song, dance
and praise with a jazz-y, blues-y flair, led by Val and
Frank Jansen, Feb. 16, 8 p.m. The Jansens, who have led
music at Congress’ jazz liturgies since 1994, will be
joined by talents like Tom Franzak, David Haas, Donna
Peña, Marty Haugen and Grammy-winning saxophonist Jay
• Pedro Rubalcava and Jaime Cortez,
presenting “Fe con Sabor Latino,” a concert celebrating
the Hispanic culture and its musical expression of
faith, Feb.17, 11:45 a.m.
• Grayson Warren Brown and a
multicultural choir, reflecting Southern California’s
colorful, multi-ethnic cultural landscape, in concert
Feb. 18, 11:45 a.m.