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Author: Mike Madigan

Have you ever seen Walt Disney's "Darby O'Gill and the Little People"? Remember that magical moment when Darby plays the fiddle for all the leprechauns? Any fiddler would die for a moment like that.

Or how about during the movie TITANIC - that scene where they go below and dance to the Celtic music and go round and round and round? Another magical moment!

I brought my little 10 year old daughter, Brenna, to the Corner Brook Arts and Culture show to see Evans & Doherty, the Ennis Sisters and Richard Wood perform. At the intermission Richard Wood came up stairs and seemed to wait for someone to chat with him. So we went over and introduced ourselves and Brenna said to him, "I just love the way you dance and play the fiddle." Richard, in his calm and easy PEI way of speaking said,” Thanks, are you a dancer too?"

Well I thought it was a set up because Brenna can't walk and not dance at the same time! Jazz ballet and Celtic steps, mostly her own style, make Brenna who she is. "Oh I love to dance, "she said, "just like you do."

Then Richard said, "Would you like to dance for me on stage in the second half of the show?"

Well Brenna's eyes looked to me, saw my total surprise and then back to him she said, "Sure, I'd love too!"

As a parent, I didn't know what we were getting into here. So I just said, "Well, Brenna will just be Brenna and we'll see what happens."

"Alright", Richard said, "leave it to me."

Not much more was said about it all except for this feeling in my stomach that this amazing fiddler who I felt had already stolen the show was going to possibly ask Brenna to dance. When? Where? How? It was all sort of confusing and not probable...just intermission talk.

Well during one of his fire-dance tunes where Richard was practically setting his fiddle on fire and his great guitarist Gordon was lost in the chords of Celtic madness, suddenly Richard stopped! Gordon was still going crazy but kind of looked up as if to say,” What’s going on?" and Richard went to the microphone and said, "Where's Brenna? Where's that little girl who's going to dance for me?"

My already pounding Celtic-appreciating heart nearly skipped a beat and Brenna just took off for the stage! It was then I noticed she was dressed in black with gold trim on her dress, and her black boots,  the ones she loves to dance in- were there polished and ready. It was all like a dream - yet it all actually made sense - and then Richard began playing and the fiddle burned again.

My daughter didn't waste a second! Brenna danced and did moves I'd never seen before. The audience clapped, stomped their feet, voiced their approval, and that only fueled the fire dance. For four straight minutes a magical time was happening! Even the spotlight cued itself after the first 30 seconds, and there was my Brenna literally shining on stage. Well the audience went wild and then

Richard, pouring in sweat, gave a big smile and said, "Brenna...thanks!!" and he whispered something in her ear. Brenna gave a little bow and returned to row D seat #12 and I really hugged her. Richard Wood then put down his fiddle and, filled with even more enthusiasm, did a  magical dance to Gordon's incredible Celtic guitar chords. What a dancer! What a show! What a time!

After the last encore of the evening where Evans & Doherty, the Ennis sisters, and Richard Wood performed ensemble, many came up to Brenna and myself and honestly asked and mused how long she had rehearsed that dance with Richard and whether she was going on tour with him. We just smiled and I said,” No, that was just a magical moment, a truly magical moment that could probably only happen here in Newfoundland."

I then thought to myself -never mind it was the Arts and Culture Centre! We've all been to a kitchen party where someone finally gets up and does magic with their feet to a tune that's been crying out for it. And we're all amazed and delighted and smiling and happy and glad to be alive here - at this moment - to witness this magic that makes us the fine people that we are.

As for Brenna, she continues to skip and dance along wherever she goes. She really brings great joy to my heart. When I ask her what Richard whispered in her ear that night, she beams with delight.” He said,’ You’re great!'"

Thank you, Richard, wherever you are!

 

(Mike Madigan is always pleased to hear any reaction to his stories and can be reached at mike_madigan@yahoo.com)

 

 


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