GVAC presents The Fitzgeralds at the Safford CFA on March 9

Contributed Photo: The Fitzgeralds will be the final act of the Gila Valley Arts Council’s season and will perform Wednesday, March, 9, at the David M. Player Center for the Arts, starting at 7 p.m.

Contributed Article

SAFFORD – The Gila Valley Arts Council is proud to present The Fitzgeralds, on Wednesday, March 9, starting at 7 p.m. at the David M. Player Center for the Arts on the campus of Safford High School.

The Fitzgeralds are some of the most talented, energetic, animated, and genuine performers you will come across. This is a group of entertainers who truly love what they are doing and thrive on interaction with their audiences. Presenters can expect a high-caliber, polished, varied, and action-packed show, with some goofiness thrown in here and there. They even step dance and fiddle at the same time!

A family group consisting of fiddling and step dancing siblings – Tom, Kerry, and Julie Fitzgerald. These siblings, from just outside of Canada’s renowned Ottawa Valley, have come a long way from their small-town roots. Featuring three-time Canadian Grandmaster Fiddle Champions and Ontario Open Step Dance Champions, this unique act features high-energy fiddling and mind-blowing step dancing. It is the rare combination of exceptional musicianship, incomparable step dancing, audience interaction, evident love of performing, and genuine sibling connection that resonates with audiences of all ages and sets this group apart. 

The Fitzgerald siblings were raised in a musical household, and toured internationally with their family band “Everything Fitz”. Growing up on the outskirts of the Ottawa Valley, they were immersed in the rich tradition of Canadian Old Time fiddling and step dancing that evolved with the arrival of Irish, Scottish and French immigrants. Over time, they have developed their art form to include various styles of fiddle music including Celtic, jazz, bluegrass, French-Canadian, and pop. They have also explored other dance forms including tap and Irish. The siblings continue to push boundaries by fusing traditional and modern styles of fiddle and dance to create their own unique sound and style. Their creativity and passion for experimentation have led them to compose original tunes and arrangements, some of which were released on their latest album. The result is a groovy and catchy new sound and look that appeals to all ages.

Julie Fitzgerald is a two-time Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Champion, as well as a two-time Open Step Dance Champion. She has had the opportunity to perform internationally with many of her lifelong musical ‘idols’ including Leahy, Natalie MacMaster, members of Stepcrew & Bowfire, Troy MacGillivray, and Wayne Rostad.  While touring with The StepCrew, Julie has also had the opportunity to share the stage with Sharon Shannon, We Banjo 3, Carlos Nunez, Solas, and Eileen Ivers.

Julie graduated from Humber College (Toronto) with the Bachelor of Music program. Julie’s love of passing on the Canadian traditional music and dance led to the creation of her first (and certainly not the last!) instructional step dance DVD. Whenever she is taking a break from touring, Julie teaches private dance and fiddle lessons to students in the Peterborough area. Because of her experience as a touring musician, she realizes how many people across North America are introduced to, and interested in learning more, about Canadian step dancing. In response to this observation, she is now offering online step dance instruction directly off of her website!

Kerry Fitzgerald is a fiddler and step dancer originally from Bancroft, ON, Canada, now based in Toronto, ON. Her musical roots are Ottawa-Valley fiddling and step dancing. She has also explored Celtic and other folk styles. Her performing career began at a young age with her family group, Everything Fitz, which has taken her on several extensive North American tours 

In addition to performing, Kerry teaches music workshops, private lessons, and music camps including Leahy Music Camp, AlgomaTrad, and Orangeville Fiddle Camp. On the competition scene, she is an Ontario Open Step dance Champion and Canadian Grand Masters Fiddle Finalist. She now judges both fiddle and step dance competitions, including the Ontario Open competition. Aside from touring, Kerry experiments with electronic arrangements of original fiddle tunes. She is currently collaborating with DJ/Producer, Jay Andrews, in his “Shreem” project. Between tours, she completed a double major in Kinesiology and Foods & Nutrition at Western University. 

Tom Fitzgerald is an accomplished musician from Bancroft, Ontario. While much of his focus has been directed towards the study of the fiddle, Tom is also accomplished on the guitar, mandolin, and as a step-dancer. He is a Canadian Grand Master Fiddle Champion (2012) and a Canadian Open Fiddle Champion (2012) and has performed with Natalie MacMaster, Leahy, Nathan Carter, Tommy Hunter, Tony McManus, Brian Finnegan, Wayne Rostad, We Banjo 3, and others. Growing up in the center of the Ottawa Valley, Tom was immersed in the rich tradition of Canadian Old Time fiddling and step dancing that evolved with the arrival of Irish, Scottish, and French immigrants. However, over the years he has absorbed other musical styles and traditions such as Celtic, country, bluegrass, swing, jazz, R&B, and classical, which allows him to effortlessly fit into almost any musical situation.

In 2017, Tom completed the Bachelor of Music program at Humber College in Toronto, Ontario, where he studied jazz violin. In his final year, Tom recorded a three-track EP, which you can find on his website. Tom is continuing to develop his craft and currently working towards a full-length solo album, available in the far and distant future. When not on tour, he also teaches privately and has been an instructor at various music camps/workshops across Canada including the Leahy Music Camp, Algoma Trad, Smithers BC, Orangeville Fiddle Camp, and Goderich Celtic College.

Tickets are currently on sale at Richards Music, 928-428-2442, online at www.saffordcenterforthearts.com or at the door. Adult ticket prices are only $10 or $15 and are all reserved seating. GVAC is proud to offer special prices for children and students for only $5.

The GVAC Fine Arts concert series is member-supported. We graciously thank our individual donors who join as supporting members every year giving out of their personal pockets. Membership can range from as little as $25, but every dollar is spent on the cost of bringing the artists here to not only perform a concert but also to spend an extra day or two working with our school children with music workshops and school performances.  This school residency and public performance project were made possible by funding received from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, WESTAF (The Western States Arts Federation), and the National Endowment for the Arts. GVAC is also very grateful for the support received from the United Way of Graham and Greenlee Counties, Freeport McMoRan Corporation, The Flinn Foundation, and the Arizona Community Foundation of the Gila Valley. For any further information, please call Tom Green, at 928-428-0081.