Sunday September 18, 2011

Music Scene

Still Roving For Unicorns

Irish Rovers at the Cultch October 1

Released by KellyAnne TeBrinkne, Chilliwack Arts and Culture Centre



he iconic Canadian singing group, The Irish Rovers, will be presented by the Chilliwack Arts & Cultural Centre Society Saturday October 1 at the Cultural Centre. Sure to be another sold-out blockbuster for the new theatre, ticket buyers have been flocking to secure their seats, leaving limited tickets available.


The Rovers’ concert fires up at 8 pm, concluding the all-day event, Cultural Collaboration-Anniversary Celebration, a community open house coordinated by the partners of the Cultural Centre and celebrating The Centre’s first anniversary.

Gracehill Fair is the group’s newest released album and as with most of their albums over the last decade, this new CD includes fresh rollicking songs for which the band is best known for, as well as a selection of beautiful, original ballads. Though, the Rovers assure their fans, the classics will also be there in full colour.

Juno-Award Winning and Grammy Nominated

“You can’t go in and do all the new songs,” says Rovers co-founder, George Millar. “You have to do a mixture — the old songs to please the crowd, and the new ones, to keep our sanity.”

These “oldies”, many anthems among generations of fans, include the “The Unicorn”, “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy”, “Drunken Sailor”, “The Wild Rovers”, “Years May Come, Years May Go”, and “Wasn't That A Party”

Over its phenomenally-long existence, the group has appeared on three award-winning national and international television series, including “The Irish Rovers Show”. They have represented Canada at six world expositions and received Canada's Harold Moon Award in recognition for a quarter century of contributions to the international music world.

After more than 37 albums released in North America and many more internationally, the Irish Rovers continue to perform in theatres around the world, with original members George Millar and Wilcil McDowell.

Start the merrymaking Friday, September 30 at the Duke of Dublin Restaurant & Bar where true Irish spirit will run wild! Featuring live music by Paul Evenden and Jennie

Warm-up to The Rovers

Bice, a menu special with Irish beer, plus exclusive ticket giveaways for the main event the following night. This “Warm-Up to the Irish Rovers” event takes place from 7:00-11:00 pm.

The Irish Rovers will put on a party you will not want to miss, so purchase your tickets today by calling the Centre Box Office at 604.391.SHOW(7469) or by visiting the friendly agents Monday-Friday 9:30am-9:00pm, Saturday & Sunday 9:30am-5:00pm. Tickets are also available online at


About the Irish Rovers

The story of the Irish Rovers starts in 1963 in Canada, where the 16-year old George Millar and 23-year old Jim Ferguson, both new emigrants from Northern Ireland, met in Toronto at an Irish function. They ended up singing together 'til dawn; and so the Irish Rovers were launched. They performed as a duo until George's cousin, Joe Millar, immigrated to Canada the following year. Joe, who played button-key accordion and harmonica, and also sang traditional ballads, was recruited as he stepped off the plane.


After several months of engagements around Ontario, the trio made their way to Calgary, Alberta, where they joined forces with George's brother, Will Millar. The four Rovers then headed off to "American", landing in at San Francisco’s famous folk club, "The Purple Onion", where they ended up headlining for an unprecedented 22 sold-out weeks. The folk clubs of California became the learning grounds for the young Rovers, and (through old-fashioned hard work and a wee bit of Irish luck) they were offered a recording contract with Decca Records.

Their debut album, appropriately titled, “The First of The Irish Rovers”, generated enough excitement to warrant another album, from which came the multi-million selling single "The Unicorn". At this time, the addition of Wilcil McDowell, an old friend from Ireland, enhanced their sound and the legendary lineup was formed. In 1968, the predecessor of the Juno’s named The Irish Rovers Canada’s, “Folk Group of the Year”, and the following year, they received a Grammy nomination for “Folk Performance of the Year”.

Through the 1970's and early 80's, the Rovers brought their magic to television guest starring in several American and Canadian television programs, and then starring in three of their own television series; “The Irish Rovers Show” for the CBC, then “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. The Irish Rovers brought us the best entertainment of the day, and were greatly responsible for the popularity of Irish music in Canada.

At the start of the 80’s, The Rovers’ magic worked on another offbeat number, "Grandma Got Run-Over By A Reindeer", which not only became an immediate seasonal anthem, but lead to the creation of their Irish Christmas Show that tours every November and December in the US and Canada. The Rovers also soared to the top of the pop and country charts with "Wasn't That A Party”, which was written by their friend, Tom Paxton, after he witnessed one of the band's famous post-show parties. It has gone on to become an international anthem of good cheer.

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, and in recognition for a quarter century of contributions to the International music world, The Irish Rovers won the Performing Rights Organization's (PROCAN) 'Harold Moon Award'.

Since the production of albums wasn’t about to slow down, and they desired the freedom that as a younger band, they could not afford, in ’93 the band established their own record company, Rover Records. Unlike many of their big hits, the band’s own compositions all have a very 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. Rover Records has put out eleven albums so far, with another on the way.

After more than 37 albums released in North America and many more internationally, the Irish Rovers continue to perform in theatres around the world, with original members George Millar, and Wilcil McDowell. Both John Reynolds and Sean O’Driscoll have been playing with the band for nearly 20 years, and drummer, Fred Graham has been touring with the lads since 2007. Will Millar left the group in 1994, and sadly Jimmy Ferguson passed away in 1997. In 2005 Joe Millar also retired from the band, while his son, Ian took up the family ranks.

The Irish Rovers are still passionate about performing and will continue to tour and entertain their legions of fans. Like the Unicorn, the Rovers are legendary and magical.

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