At the age of fifteen, Chloë Agnew found herself touring the world with Celtic Woman. It wasn’t a scenario she imagined when she was called to sing with Celtic Woman for a one-night concert in Dublin.
“One thing led to the next,” says Agnew who left the show six years ago but is returning for Celebration: The 15th Anniversary Tour. The show plays Altria Theater on Sunday, March 15.
Celtic Woman performances celebrate Ireland’s rich musical and cultural heritage. The Grammy-nominated, multi-platinum group showcases Tara McNeill on fiddle and Irish harp along with the voices of Mairéad Carlin, Megan Walsh, and now special guest artist Agnew. It also features a 12-piece band and choir chosen from the best of Ireland’s musicians and dancers.
The group has over one billion online streams, twelve consecutive Billboard number ones and 10 million albums sold. The renowned ensemble has performed for three presidents and appeared twice at the White House.
Celtic Woman became a household name after the group appeared on PBS. “We went into the hearts and homes of people in North America,” Agnew says. “It was an overnight sensation. Coming from Ireland, we couldn’t believe what was happening.”
The group did the majority of touring in North America, but has also toured everywhere from Japan to Australia. “In North America, there were millions of people with Irish ancestry,” Agnew says. “The Irish music makes people feel so connected to the country and the culture.”
The core of the music revolves around universal themes such as love, land, loss, and hope, she adds. “People will laugh with you and cry. They will clap along and dance in the aisles.”
The show offers people the chance to forget about the crazy world we live in, she adds. “When you step inside this sacred space, you will leave your worries at the door. The music does speak to the soul. There’s something healing in it. It makes people feel better when they leave the show than when they came in, and that’s a great reward for us.”
Agnew, who grew up in a musical family and started singing and performing when she was eleven, left the show six years ago to carve her own path in the music industry. Leaving Celtic Woman was both liberating and terrifying for her. “I threw myself into songwriting and collaborating with different artists,” she says. “I have my own show and I also do voice overs.”
Coming back to the show as a special guest artist is an honor for her. “It’s incredible for me to see the legacy carry on. I’m so looking forward to bringing back a little piece of the original show into the new one,” she says. “I’m looking forward to working with the girls.”
The group will revisit fifteen years of hits during the anniversary tour. Audiences can expect songs such as Orinoco Flow, the playful Teir Abhaile Riu, the uplifting anthem You Raise Me Up, the age-old favorite Danny Boy, and the bagpiper-led Amazing Grace, among other favorites.
“We don’t just perform Celtic Irish music,” Agnew says. “We do a whole range of genres and present them in our own way.”
The hectic show and touring schedule can be intensive and “grueling,” she adds. “I am an expert at living out of a suitcase. You just get into a good routine and that keeps you going.”
Agnew has fond memories of performing in Richmond years ago and is looking forward to coming back. She hopes Richmonders will find something peaceful and uplifting in the family-friendly show.
“It’s rare when kids can come to a show with their parents and grandparents,” she says. “We take great pride in that. We just want you to leave your worries at the door and have fun with us.”
For tickets to Celtic Woman Celebration: The 15th Anniversary Tour, Sunday, March 15, at 3 p.m., at Altria Theater, go here.
Enter to win a family 4-pack of tickets to Celebration: The 15th Anniversary Tour from RFM here.