A feast for the senses
Post Independent Contributor
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado – There’s no need for luck to see Celtic music and dance this weekend.
The band Feast, and accompanying Irish dancers, return to the Glenwood Springs High School Auditorium for a lively Sunday matinee of the “Celtic Rhapsody” show.
“People love it,” said Gabe Mientka, of Feast, which will provide the musical entertainment for the annual Celtic concert that includes Glenwood in its Western Slope Concert Series.
“Every time we put on a show in Glenwood Springs, people say it was better than the last.”
Mientka’s parents, Tyme and Kathryn, started the Celtic band Feast in 2005 in Grand Junction. The concept for the highly lauded music and dance combination was born from Kathryn’s love of Ireland, where she shares dual citizenship with the U.S.
“My parents were classical musicians for many years and were interested in doing something different,” Gabe said. “On St. Patrick’s Day of 2005 they asked some friends to join them in putting on a concert together, and it went from there. The band has definitely grown over the years.”
The band features Gabe on cello and his mother on piano, as well as his sister Stephanie Mientka on viola. His sister Rosemarie Mientka will perform modern dance and ballet as a special guest at the performance. Her dance will be in memory of the Mientka patriarch, Tyme, who died in March 2011.
“One of the numbers Rosie will be dancing is for him,” Gabe said. “It’s ‘The Swan’ ballet and will be a tribute to him. ‘The Swan’ is a classical piece, and it’s very famous. She really wanted to make that part of the show.”
The Swan, from Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals,” is most often performed as a cello solo, and was a crowd-pleasing standard for Tyme Mientka.
When he’s not performing with Feast, Gabe continues to study music, with a concentration in cello, in Germany. Stephanie is completing her master’s degree focusing on the viola at Rice University in Houston.
“We tour as much as we can and the rest of the time we either gig or teach,” he said. “We are living the dream of bringing our music to a wider audience. I do love the creativity the show brings me.”
Along with the Mientka family, Feast features band members Marcin Arendt and Filip Lazovski on violin, Ben DeKock on bass, and David Alderdice and Arlyn Deva on drums and percussion. Rebecca Arendt sings heart-melting Irish songs and ballads.
“I think it’s just very, very high-energy music, ” Gabe said. “It can also be soulful and gorgeous melodies. I really enjoy getting creative and arranging the music.”
The “Celtic Rhapsody” show will also showcase Blaine Donovan and Jessica Lesser, Irish step dancers of the Strictly Irish dance troupe, Colorado’s only professional Irish dance group. The dancers are all national and world champion dancers and have danced in Irish shows worldwide.
With such impressive talent, Gabe expects a full house Sunday afternoon.
“For the past three years the show has been very full here,” he said. “I think Celtic music and Irish music is just very popular right now. We will play songs from ‘River Dance and ‘Lord of the Dance.’ It’s just sort of this rebirth of that culture and music, the heritage, that’s very very loved.”
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