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Celebrate a Celtic Christmas in song

The Here & Now, an Irish band out of Austin, performs "Nollaig: A Celtic Christmas Celebration" at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 909 Avenue D in Marble Falls. The event benefits The Phoenix Center. Photo courtesy of The Here & Now

"Nollaig: A Celtic Christmas Celebration" is 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 11, at Trinity Episcopal Church, 909 Avenue D in Marble Falls. The Here & Now of Austin will perform traditional Irish songs and holiday classics.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased online. The show benefits the Phoenix Center of Marble, which provides mental health services to children and their families.

Niahm Fahy, a fiddle player with The Here & Now, believes music can offer healing, which is especially important with the now-two-year-long pandemic.

“I think being at a concert has a magic to it,” she said. “You’re there experiencing the music and the event with all these other people. A concert, I think, offers more than just the music but brings so much hope — hope for humanity, hope for the community, and hope for each of us.”

A portion of the proceeds will go to the Phoenix Center, particularly its music therapy program. Fahy is one of the center's music therapists. The facility currently has about 79 children on its services waiting list, she said.

“We’d love to be able to provide services to each one of them, and by supporting this concert, it helps us grow our services,” she said. “Those are the children we know of. There’s also a number of kids who don’t reach out to us for service, and we’d also like to help them.”

Nollaig means Christmas in the Irish language, said Fahy, who is from Ireland. It is pronounced null-ig with a hard G.

“(In Ireland), Christmas is so much more than December 24th and 25th,” she said. “It’s the coming together throughout the month and days ahead of Christmas. It’s about coming home and that sense of community you find there.

“As an Irish person, being able to go home, it’s a grounding experience that reminds us where we came from and who we are,” she added.

The Here & Now band members will also tell the stories behind the songs they play during the performance. Along with Fahy, the group includes Chris Buckley, Rob Forkner, and Joseph Carmichael.

“We have some great storytellers in the band,” Fahy said. “We’ll talk about some of the songs and some of the traditions.”

As a music therapist, Fahy works with teens who struggle to find the words to share how they're feeling or what they're experiencing.

“The music helps them feel heard and seen,” she said. “Therapy isn’t about the type of therapy; it’s about the relationship. Therapy is about building relationships. Music is the way I build relationships with those teens.”

Music also creates community, Fahy said.

“In Ireland, if you’re a stranger, we invite you in and we want you to be part of the celebration and get to know you,” she said. “Any place we can gather as a community, see each other, be kind to each other, and just smile at each other is important, particularly after the recent things we’ve all gone through.”

daniel@thepicayune.com

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