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Friday, February 9, 2001
Song, dance and 'heavenly partiness'
Congress entertainment lineup features an array of music styles

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 Migliori.

 • 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.

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