PEMBROKE — When Joanie Madden first thought of the name for Cherish the Ladies, an all-ladies Celtic ensemble, she had no idea what the future would hold for the group.
During 27 years together, the five-member Irish-American ensemble has released two critically acclaimed holiday albums — “On Christmas Night” and “A Star In The East.” The group’s self-titled first album was selected as one of the best folk albums of the year by the Library of Congress.
Madden says the sound of Celtic music, which features he penny whistle, fiddle, guitar, accordion, piano and percussion, lends itself easily to Christmas melodies.
That’s why the group will perform “A Celtic Christmas” at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke’s Givens Performing Arts Center on Thursday at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $15 to $30 for adults, $12 for children and $5 for UNCP students.
Madden said the ladies are excited about the tour, which includes 16 stops and is “selling out throughout the country.”
During the program, the Ladies will put their signature mark on classic carols such as “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Silent Night” with arrangements that highlight the group’s Celtic instrumentation and three-part harmonies, as well as professional dancers.
“All of us in the band are daughters of Irish immigrants,” Madden said. “Our fathers played music and passed it down to us. What makes it remarkable is that for centuries, the music was passed from fathers to sons.”
Tradition and family are what Madden associates with Christmas, and she says nothing warms her heart more than putting on a traditonal show for a family.
“We really get you in the Christmas mood and it’s a wonderful family show,” Madden said. “We see grandpas and mothers and fathers and grandchildren.”