Arts and Entertainment

Piping hot fun in the park

No, that wasn’t someone blaring the “Braveheart” soundtrack in Coupeville Sunday afternoon. Concerts on the Cove welcomed Celtic Magic to Coupeville Town Park for its Sunday in the Park concert series.

Celtic Magic is a Poulsbo-based group consisting of Charlie Faddis on bagpipes, T.J. Faddis on pennywhistle, Seamus Wegner on pipes and bodrhan, Kent Tarpley on accoustic guitar, Dan McClelland on bass guitar, and Polly Tarpley on Keyboards.

Charles Bowman, from Richmond, Va., is visiting his grandkids and their parents, Ron and Denise Flatley of Oak Harbor. A typo on the internet listing the Sunday concert as a “Celtic Magic Show” caused some confusion for the grandkids, ages 10 months, 4, 8 and 10 years old. There weren’t any bunnies being pulled from top hats or young women being cut in half, but the Flatley children were still able to see some magic in the park.

“I like the way they play, and the way they look,” 10-year-old Jeremy said.

Between songs, the players of Celtic Magic gave concert attendees a little insight into Celtic history and of the bagpipes.

“The Scots only owned one kilt,” T.J. Faddis explained to the crowd,. “It was their blanket, their clothes, everything, so they didn’t want to take it into battle and get dirt and blood all over it, so they’d come over the hill all naked with this screaming pipe music. At the sight, the people they were fighting would be ‘okay, go ahead and take our land.’ ”

The bagpipes have nine notes, and one volume level, which reaches 89 decibels, according to Charlie Faddis.

“We get calls for shows and I always ask them if it’s a Scottish affair and they tell me ‘well no, but we don’t want anything too loud,” he said.

A light rain began during the intermission break of the Celtic Magic performance, but only a few concertgoers sprinkled away carrying their lawn chairs and blankets. The lawn was still filled when the band returned to the stage after mingling with the crowd, and as the pipes started up the clapping and grass stomping began.

There are no rests in pipe music, “once you fill the bag with air it plays itself — there’s no stopping them,” Faddis said.

The non-stop, restless Celtic music was perfectly fine with the audience that was scattered on the lawn of the park, some with blankets, lawn chairs, picnic lunches and children running here-and-there.

The crowd, and the band, received a surprise when two hands popped up to the question, “So, do we have any dancers with us today?”

Kandace and Kelli Ackelson recently attended the world Celtic dancing competition in Glasgow, Scotland, where they placed fourth in the 16-year-old division.

The 16-year-old Bellingham residents are the granddaughters of Claude and Margaret Dilly of Oak Harbor, and despite the fact their dance shoes got misplaced in the travels between home, competition and the grandparents’, they still took to the stage.

Looking like a scene straight out of Riverdance or Lord of the Dance (which were the girls’ inspirations), the twin girls seemed to almost energize the crowd and the band as they spun, stomped and leaped across the stage.

“The dancers were great, they made the show. We were just the back-up,” Kent Tarpley said.

Concerts on the Cove representative Vern Olsen told the crowd Sunday, “What we’ve created here is a little bit of Americana. Not only do we have live music in the town park, but we now have a place where the Central Whidbey community gathers and once again socializes with others, sharing stories about kids, grandchildren and former friends and neighbors.”

This Saturday, Aug. 10, the Smith Barn on Ebey’s Prairie will be rockin’ to the sounds of Dillinger’s Clambake. It’s the second year the summer series has offered up a Saturday performance during the Coupeville Arts and Crafts festival, and islanders and visitors alike are invited to a night of boogie woogie fun as Dillinger’s clambake mixes up the styles of pre-big band to rock and roll. The Concerts on the Cove “Sundays in the Park” concert series will wrap up Aug. 25 with Generation Gap.

Tickets to a Concerts on the Cove event are $5 per adult and all students and children are free. For further information, contact Concerts’ board member Vern Olsen at (360) 678-5019, or check the Concerts’ website at www.

Highland Games are Saturday

If you’re craving more Celtic faire, the Whidbey Highland Games are just around the corner. Celebrate Celtic heritage beginning at 9 a.m., Aug. 10 at the Greenbank Farm. The 4th annual event features traditional dancing competition, bagpipe and drumming competition, and highland games competitions open to the public. See Junior US Scottish Fiddle Champion Katie Campbell at 10 a.m., and NW Regional Harp Champion Sunny VanderBoll at 2 p.m. in a traditional harp circle. Visit the Shire of Midhaven, with presentations of pre-1650 European cultures and demonstrations of armored combat, Rapier combat, archery and thrown weapons. Research your heritage at clan booths and find traditional memorabilia. And at day’s end witness the breathtaking massed pipes and drums. Sponsored by the Whidbey Island Celtic Society. Adults are $7, Seniors and Kids over 5 are $5. For more information call (360) 341-1350 or go to


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