Martin Sheen here for early St. Pat’s fete

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Martin Sheen

For the 18th year, Old St. Patrick’s Church will kick off St. Patrick’s Day week with its “Siamsa nanGael” — an annual Celtic celebration of song, dance and storytelling. This year, the voice narrating the story is again that of award-winning actor Martin Sheen.

This year’s performance will showcase two great cultural traditions in a program intriguingly titled, “If It Wasn’t For the Irish and the Jews.”

The concept of the evening is to present the best of Celtic entertainment and also feature songs of legendary composers and performers whose immigrant families shared stories of survival and hope.

Mick Moloney — the singer and musical historian — has created a collaboration of music between Irish and Jewish songwriters that came to be the songs of Tin Pan Alley. The program will include performances by Chicago’s popular Irish diva Catherine O’Connell, tenor soloist Rodrick Dixon, Irish fiddler Liz Carroll, the world champion Trinity Irish Dancers, the Maxwell Street Klezmer Band, the 100-voice choir of Old St. Patrick’s Church and the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra.

It all takes place beginning at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 12 at the Chicago Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan. For ticket information, call the CSO obx office at (312) 294-3000, or go to

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