Maine’s Gawler Family to close out popular Celtic Series for 2009

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The Gawler Girls: Elsie, Molly, and Edith

New England Celtic Arts in partnership with The Franco American Heritage Center, Lakeside Theater, and Skye Theatre will present the “Gawler Family’s New Year Celebration” to close out its 2009 season.

Performances will be held at Skye Theatre Performing Arts Center on Sunday, Dec. 27, at Lakeside Theater on Monday, Dec. 28, and a final concert at the Franco American Heritage Center on Tuesday, Dec. 29. There is a pre-show jam at 6 p.m. at FAHC and at Skye. Audience members are encouraged to bring their instruments and play for a few minutes with the artists. A Contradance will follow the concert at Skye at 9 p.m.

The popular Celtic Series will be ending its fifth season with these concerts and will be expanding the number of venues next season with the addition of Unity College Performing Arts Center in Unity Maine, and St. Kieran’s Community Center in Berlin, N.H. Also to be added in 2010 will be an affiliation with several festivals in Maine including the Maine Celtic Festival in Belfast, the Maine Highland Games in Topsham, the Wilton Blueberry Festival in Wilton, and Saddleback Ski Area.

John and Ellen Gawler, joined by their daughters, Molly, Edith and Elsie Gawler bring an eclectic assortment of old and new sounds from many folk traditions. They accompany their warm interweaving family harmonies with fiddles, banjo, wooden banjo, cello, guitar, ukulele and piano as well as a few surprises. Whether they are crooning a quietly poignant ballad or delivering a rollicking fiddle tune, their unique arrangements are especially engaging and often go along with antidotes of historical or humorous content.

Although the Gawlers may be best known for their extensive collection of dance tunes in the Scots-Irish and French Canadian traditions their repertoire may include a gutsy Appalachian work song, a ‘Sweet Honey in the Rock’ acapella number, or an amusing ode to every day life. With the CD Golden Thread, to their credit, the Gawlers have earned a beloved place in the hearts of their audiences for their infectious spirit and sparkling musicianship to the merriment of folks of all ages.

John Gawler, a local songster of Maine, is known for his fun-loving and original renditions of traditional music. With his finger picking guitar and frailing banjo he lends an underpinning to the family that is at the same time unique and authentic.

Ellen Gawler is a celebrated Maine fiddler conversant in many styles including Maritime, Irish, New England, Shetland, and Quebecois. She began fiddling at a young age traveling to Ireland, and the Shetland Islands to collect tunes and study with the masters.

Molly earned her BFA at SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Dance. Molly has been traveling and performing with Pilobolus Dance Theatre’s international touring company, appearing on the Academy Awards, Oprah, and Japanese television, and Late Night TV with Connan O’Brian. Molly has also performed with Corbin Dances from New York City, Nelly Van Bommel from France, and Pickleshoes from Georgia. 

Edith has recently returned from her travels around the world with her guitar. Also accomplished on the fiddle, piano, and banjo, she fills in the Gawler ensemble with her rich low harmonies.

Elsie takes her inspiration from a new sound that incorporates the cello into folk music with a range of chops, backup rhythms and innovative chord structures. With fiddle music deeply embedded in her musical sensibilities, she delivers lively jigs and reels as easily as melancholy waltzes on her cello. She is a recent convert to the ukulele offering a new dimension to the Gawler family sound.

General admission tickets for the Franco Center are $10.00 and $5 for children 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Box Office at 207-689-2000, or online at  or at the door. Reservations for Skye Theatre tickets can be made at 207-562-4445. At Lakeside Theater, tickets are $10 in advance and $12.50 at the door. Advance tickets for Lakeside may be purchased at the theater, or online at or by calling 864-5000. Curtain is at 7 p.m. for all the theaters. More information is also available at

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