The energizing and toe-tapping Irish melodies of the Celtic Spring band are designed to entertain listeners. But for the Wood family that makes up the folk ensemble, it’s also a chance for an encounter with Christ.
“I found Irish music and dance seems to give people a taste of things deeply beautiful and joyful,” said Elizabeth Wood, 29, who has played fiddle and step-danced since age 4. “I hope people who see my family performing have an encounter with beauty and joy, which is an encounter with the Lord, whether they realize it or not.”
For the first time in Colorado, Elizabeth and her five younger siblings—Deirdre, Sean, Patrick, Maire and Aidan—fiddled and step-danced to witness to the joy found in a life in Christ. They gave a free performance July 19 at Our Lady of Lourdes Church, 2298 S. Logan St., in Denver.
Greg and Mary Wood’s original intention to cultivate a love for their Irish heritage in their six children through music grew after they began to receive requests to perform at parties and weddings. In 2002, Celtic Spring was named the grand champion at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Hollywood. Their fame took them to the TV show “America’s Got Talent” in 2007 and earned them a spot among the top three finalists.
“We never formally decided to do this. But it was God’s will and we just watched it unfold,” said Mary, who plays the keyboard. Greg plays the bodhran, an Irish frame drum, and percussion instruments.
Their rousing performances that combine music from Ireland, Scotland and Nova Scotia, Canada led to appearances on “The Today Show,” “Good Morning America,” PBS and EWTN among others. They’ve also released two albums titled “Celtic Spring” and “Cornerstone.” They’ve performed across the country, but this weekend is their first time as a family in Colorado.
“I’m so excited to have my family do a show here,” Elizabeth said.
A graduate of the Augustine Institute in Greenwood Village, Elizabeth said she’s wanted to share her family’s gifts with the local Catholic community. Their music has become a way to connect with each other and their audiences.
“It brings all of us closer to together,” said Elizabeth, a parishioner at St. Mary Parish in Littleton.
Their music also gives a glimpse into their family life.
“It’s a great way to bring joy to the culture, especially as the culture has gotten more and more broken, and there’s not a lot of witness of families coming together,” Mary said.
Before performances they pray, especially to St. Patrick, and attend daily Mass together. The family will also pray for their audiences.
“I’ll be on stage sometimes and my family will play ‘Amazing Grace,’” Elizabeth shared. “When I’m playing, I think about the people and hope and desire it will reach their hearts.”
Performing has given the family some of their happiest memories and has become a way to give themselves to others in joy.
“In our culture today, people need that taste of joy,” Elizabeth said. “I hope that many families and many people are inspired through our performance on Saturday. It’s a huge gift for us.”
For more information about Celtic Spring, visit www.celticspringband.com.