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Entertainment CONTRIBUTED

The Swift Current Allied Arts Council is pleased the series opener for the 2011 2012 season of Stars for Saskatchewan will be The Irish Rovers on Saturday, Sept. 17. Given the demand for tickets for this

year’s series, the Arts Council has arranged for second shows for a limited number of concerts in the series with the first being an additional performance by The Irish Rovers on Sunday, Sept. 18. The story of the Irish Rovers starts in Canada in 1963, where the 16-year- old George Millar and 23-year-old Jim Ferguson, both new emigrants from N. Ireland, met in Toronto at an Irish function. They ended up singing together ’til dawn and so the Irish Rovers were launched. The group had expanded to a foursome by the time they headed to America to perform at the famous folk club — The Purple Onion in San Francisco, where they ended up headlining for an unprecedented 22 sold-out weeks. Their debut album, appropriately titled, The First of The Irish Rovers, generated enough excitement to warrant another album, from which came the million-selling single The Unicorn , the band’s signature song to

this day. In 1968, The Irish Rovers were named Canada’s, folk group of the year, and the following year, received a Grammy nomination for folk performance of the year. Through the 1970s and early 1980s,

the Rovers brought their magic to television with a weekly series for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and later, another series on the Global Network in conjunction with Ulster Television in Ireland which was syndicated around the world. In the 1980s, The Rovers once again soared to the top of the pop and country charts with Wasn’t That a Party. Hot on the heels of that success, the band recorded Grandma Got Run-Over By A Reindeer, which became an immediate seasonal anthem. The lads have represented Canada at no less than five world Expos, and in recognition for a quarter century of contributions to the International music world, The Irish Rovers won the Performing Rights Organization’s (PROCAN) Harold Moon Award. The Irish Rovers continue to perform in theatres around the world, with original members George Millar and Wilcil McDowell.Will Millar left the group in 1994, and sadly Jimmy Ferguson passed away in 1997. In 2005 Joe Millar also retired from the band,

while his son, Ian took up the ranks. Both John Reynolds and Sean O’Driscoll have been playing with the band for nearly 20 years, and drummer, Fred Graham has been touring with the lads since 2007. The Irish Rovers are still passionate about performing and will continue to tour and entertain their legions of fans. Like the Unicorn, the Rovers are legendary and magical, and a good time is guaranteed.

PRAIRIE POST - Friday, September 9, 2011 - 31 Won’t that be a party in Swift Current? Photo submitted

The new-look Irish Rovers will be Swift Current next weekend as part of the Stars for Saskatchewan series.

Do not miss the Irish Rovers on

Saturday, Sept. 17 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 18 at 2 p.m. at the Sky Centre. Tickets for reserved seating for the Sept. 18 performance can be purchased at the Living Sky Casino Box Office in

person, on-line at www.livingsky or by phone at 778-5759. A limited number of series tickets also remain available. For more information, please phone the Swift Current Allied Arts Council at 773-1338 or 1-877-211-2787 toll-free.

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