What Will We Do With A Drunken Sailor? THE IRISH ROVERS Answer That Musical Question And More At The McCallum

What Will We Do With A Drunken Sailor? THE IRISH ROVERS Answer That Musical Question And More At The McCallum

The McCallum Theatre presents The Irish Rovers on Friday, March 8, at 8:00pm. Throughout the years, these international ambassadors of Irish music have maintained their timeless ability to deliver a rollicking, rousing performance of good cheer - one that will have you singing and clapping along. Their songs have become anthems of revelry and joy among generation after generation of fans. Don't miss your chance to hear this iconic band once again!

The Irish Rovers have charmed and entertained audiences around the world with their exciting stage shows for more than 50 years. On the heels of their nomination for the Irish Music Association's Tommy Makem Award, which honors their philosophy, and traditional approach to Irish music, the Rovers began their "Long Goodbye Tour." The band hopes to sing a proper farewell to all those they have entertained for these many years. After more than 40 albums released in North America and many more internationally, The Irish Rovers continue to receive rave reviews for their recordings and performances.

The story of the Rovers begins in 1963 in Canada, where 16-year old George Millar and 23-year old Jim Ferguson, both new emigrants from N. Ireland, met in Toronto at an Irish function. They ended up singing together 'til dawn, and the Irish Rovers were launched. They performed as a duo until George's cousin, Joe Millar, immigrated to Canada the following year. Joe, who sang traditional ballads and played button-key was recruited as he stepped off the plane. George's musician father Bob Millar, who was also button key accordion player, became the band's first manager. For the next several months he guided the new band playing folk song festivals, clubs, hootenannies, The Port o' Call, and Toronto's Royal Alexandra Hotel.

George, Jimmy and Joe left Toronto for Calgary to stay with brother Will who was singing folk songs at Phil's Pancake House which led to a daily children's TV show, "Just 4 Fun." After their first disastrous television appearance, the four Rovers headed to America and San Francisco's famous folk club The Purple Onion, where they headlined for an unprecedented 22 sold-out weeks. The folk clubs of California became the learning grounds for the young Rovers, and, through hard work and a wee bit of Irish luck, they were offered a recording contract with Decca Records.

The success of their debut album, The First of The Irish Rovers, led to their second album The Unicorn. At this time, the addition of Wilcil McDowell enhanced their sound. In 1968, The Irish Rovers were named Canada's Folk Group of the Year, and the following year, they received a Grammy nomination for Folk Performance of the Year.

Through the 1970s and early 80s, the Rovers starred in television programs and three of their own television series: "The Irish Rovers Show," "Party With The Rovers," and "The Rovers Comedy House." They were also on Global Network in conjunction with Ulster Television in Ireland which was syndicated around the world.

At the start of the 80s, The Rovers' magic worked on the novelty song "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" which became a seasonal anthem and rose to the top twenty within a week of radio play. The Rovers soared to the top of the pop and country charts with "Wasn't That A Party," written by their friend Tom Paxton after he witnessed one of the band's famous post-show parties.

Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau personally asked the boys if they could "please become Canadian" so that they could officially represent Canada throughout the world. Since then, they have represented Canada at no less than five world Expos. In recognition for a quarter century of contributions to the International music world, The Irish Rovers won the Performing Rights Organization's Harold Moon Award.

In 1993, the band established Rover Records as their production of albums wasn't about to slow down. The band's own compositions have a traditional Irish sound and tell a story of home, whether it's about a lost love, a sailor on leave, or the simple good taste of a Guinness.

With original members George Millar and Wilcil McDowell, the band includes John Reynolds and Sean O'Driscoll who have been playing with the band for near 25 years. Will Millar left the group in 1994, and, sadly, Jimmy Ferguson passed away in 1997. In 2005, Joe Millar retired to the golf course, while his son, Ian took up the family ranks. All members hail from Ireland.

They are touted in the press as internet sensations for their multi-million YouTube fans, revamping their website, uploading more videos to YouTube, and becoming active on Facebook and Twitter.

Their CD Gracehill Fair (2010) marked their 45th anniversary and was followed with an extensive tour and the DVD/television special "Home In Ireland," filmed entirely along the northeast coast of Ireland and at their Belfast Waterfront Hall concert. Drunken Sailor (2012) was spurred on by over 5 million hits of their usual show-closer "Drunken Sailor." A television special followed, filmed on the ski slopes of Canada and in the streets and pubs of Banff National Park, and included their Christmas concert filmed at Chatham, Ontario's historic Capitol Theatre with musical guests from Ireland. The Rovers released The Irish Rovers, 50 Years compilation album in 2014.

The Irish Rovers are passionate about performing and will continue to tour and entertain their legions of fans. Like the Unicorn, the Rovers are legendary and magical, and a good time is guaranteed for all.


Tickets for this performance are priced at $85, $65, $45 and $25. Tickets are available at the Theatre's website at www.mccallumtheatre.com or by calling the McCallum Theatre Box Office at (760) 340-2787.

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From This Author David Green

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