EDMOND—As the lights dimmed in the Ryman Auditorium on Monday evening, hundreds of people slipped into wooden pews as the curtains drew back to reveal bright sapphire lights and a silhouetted figure who burst into energetic dance under the brilliant gold lettering: Celtic Throne.
The June 21 showing in Nashville, Tennessee, was for the largest audience that the Philadelphia Church of God’s Irish dance production has had. The Ryman sold a total of 905 tickets, and members in the audience represented more than eight states: Some came from as far as Ohio. A number of PCG members and several students from the PCG’s Herbert W. Armstrong College also attended, as well as Pastor General Gerald Flurry.
“It was my first time watching Celtic Throne,” one concertgoer said. “It was amazing.” Another remarked that he and his wife attend Irish festivals every year and that Celtic Throne was “by far the show-stopper of all the shows” they had seen. Another, who has taken Irish dance lessons for seven years, said, “It was amazing, the choreography was amazing, we do troupe ourselves and I don’t know what to think of it: It is amazing. The male lead’s feet are so sharp.” Another described the evening as “a night we will always remember.”
Celtic Throne was the first concert to perform on the Ryman stage since government coronavirus regulations shut down the historic theater early last year. Built in 1892, the venue is one of the most prominent in a city full of music venues. It has hosted John Philip Sousa, Roy Rogers, Harry Houdini, Charlie Chaplin, W.C. Fields, Katharine Hepburn, Bob Hope, Mae West and President Theodore Roosevelt, as well as Elvis Presley, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Marty Robbins, Minnie Pearl, Patsy Cline, Roy Acuff and, famously the Grand Ole Opry. The 129-year-old building is considered one of the world’s most significant heritage sites for folk music.
Celtic Throne’s performance in Music City was the seventh show of its 2021 season, after showing in Edmond, Oklahoma; Irving, Austin and Amarillo, Texas; and Birmingham, Alabama. Celtic Throne premiered last June, with nine performances in Oklahoma, Missouri and South Dakota. Following Nashville, the show appeared at the Orpheum in Memphis last night. It will show in Little Rock, Arkansas on Monday and in Tulsa on Thursday before its finale for a sell-out crowd on July 11 back in Edmond.