image of program invitation card

The Betty Strong Encounter Center will present live traditional Irish folk songs, jigs, reels and bagpipe tunes by the Ceili Band of Sioux Falls at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 18. Admission will be free.

“Ceili” is a form of Irish folk dance that developed after house, barn and crossroads dances were outlawed by Ireland’s Dance Halls Act of 1935. This limited dances to public halls.

Ceili Band of Sioux Falls musicians are Carol Skallerud, flute and vocals; Tom Parliman, bodhran (Irish drum), mandolin and bagpipes; Bill Peterson, fiddle; Jill Groth, tin whistle and vocals; and Charley Smith, guitar and vocals.

Tens of millions of Americans can trace their ancestry to Ireland. Pvt. George Shannon and Sgt. Patrick Gass of the Lewis & Clark Expedition were among them. Gass succeeded Sgt. Charles Floyd who died in the present-day Sioux City area on Aug. 20, 1804.

Gass’ journal, the first account of the expedition to be published, notes the Corps of Discovery’s 1804 Christmas celebration at Fort Mandan when, “…The men cleared out one of the rooms and commenced to dancing….” Gass lived to the age of 99.

 “The Ceili Band of Sioux Falls” has been playing for Irish dances in Sioux Falls for more than 30 years. It’s been the house band for McNally's Irish Pub in Sioux Falls for the past 12 years.