NOVA Center for the Performing Arts -- Billings, Montana

Celtic Christmas  Celtic Christmas

A Celtic Christmas


Reel in the holidays with 'A Celtic Christmas' at NOVA
• Jaci Webb

• Dec 8, 2017

It's a rare thing — coming up with an original Christmas show, let alone two.
Steve Zediker has scripted his second holiday show with the help of pianist Teri Hammerquist. Following the success he had with his "Christmas Time's A Coming," featuring bluegrass music in 2015, he and Hammerquist started working on "A Celtic Christmas" a year ago. It opens at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 8 and runs through Dec. 23 at NOVA Center for the Performing Arts.

Zediker, a well-known Billings composer, producer and vocalist, has brought his band, Slainte, into the show, positioning them right up front on stage to showcase their authentic sound. They sing and play Celtic instruments including an autoharp, a concertina accordion and a bodrahn, which is an Irish drum. The band usually jams Friday night at Pug Mahon's, so you could say they've been rehearsing this show for a decade or more.

"Celtic Christmas" is set in an Irish pub on the Isle of Man.
"It's a dark and stormy night on Christmas Eve and people have come to seek shelter," Zediker said. "We will play a lot of traditional Celtic Christmas music."

Featured in the show are local youths from the Dannsairean Dancers group, who will perform Irish jigs, and area vocalists portraying carolers. During rehearsal last week, the dancers were high kicking so fast their legs were a blur.

The cast is diverse, ranging in age from 7 to 70, Hammerquist said.

"We have very seasoned people, like Steve Zediker, Gary Treglown and Shawn Bettise, and we have one woman who is performing in her first show, Hammerquist said.

Bettise plays the bartender and serves as the emcee, ushering people in and out of the family-friendly pub.

Beyond Celtic songs, the production explains the history of traditions of Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and features poetry.

There are singalongs and stories, both poignant and preposterous. Hammerquist described the show as fun and reflective.

"You can expect some chuckles and some poignant moments. Some of us are more reflective this time of year, thinking about loved ones we've lost," Hammerquist said. "But mostly, it's just fun."

A Celtic Christmas

Design by Melanie Fabrizius

THE CAST (in order of appearance)

 Shawn Bettisse
Moraigan  Danielle Turtainen
Willem  William Shields
Connor  (guitar/bodhran/mandolin)…..Steve Zediker

Fiddle  John Hoyer
Fiddle  Ginny Waples
Octave mandolin  Ed Pierson
Autoharp  Toni Bell
Melodeon/Concertina  Patrick Kuntz
Mrs. McGill (pianist)  Teri Hammerquist

Ellie  Elliana “Ellie” Manske
Angus  Benjamin Meyer
John Patrick  Manni Ratliff
Maeve  Rebekah Rae
Mary  Janie Sutton
Joe  Jeremy Hansen
Trevor Gary Treglown
Vivian  Mic Dawson

Dannsairean Dancers:
Rebekah Rae, Kennedy Miller, Kyle Poling, Jessica Moore. Hannah Robinson and
Caleb Robinson

Children Carolers:
Matthias Chapman, Jackson Chapman, Hannah Ford, Caleb Ford, Beatrice Layton,
Sydney Paden, Liam McCaughey, Samantha McCaughey, Aija Small, Ali Krause and
Amanda Wilathgamuwa

Songs, readings, and poems compiled and edited by Steve Zediker and Teri Hammerquist,
With additional dialogue by Steve Zediker

*Isle of Man is one of the British Isles, located in the Irish Sea off the northwest coast of England. The Isle is roughly equidistant between England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales.

Director: Steve Zediker
Assistant Director/Musical Director: Teri Hammerquist
Costumer: Gary Treglown
Technical Director: Dan Nickerson
Light Board Operators: Cy Ellerd, Joan Eller & Wayne Pierce

Bronte Wittpenn photographer, Billings Gazette

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NOVA Center for the Performing Arts  -  2317 Montana Avenue - Billings, MT 59101
PO Box 11
Billings, MT 59103
Phone: 406-591-9535