For 18 years, Magical Strings' Celtic Yuletide Concerts have been a cherished holiday tradition in Kent. The Boulding family presents their 18th annual Kent Celtic Yuletide Concert on Sunday, December 12 at 3 p.m. at Kent-Meridian Performing Arts Center, 10020 SE 256th Street, Kent. The concert is presented by the Kent Arts Commission as part of the 2004-2005 Spotlight Series performing arts season.

In an age where families have trouble just gathering at the dinner table, the Boulding family of Olalla, Wash., is something of a phenomenon. For 26 years without fail, Pam and Philip Boulding and their five children have gathered to perform a Celtic Yuletide Concert series hosted by their group Magical Strings. The first concert was held in 1979 in Seattle, and the production first graced the Kent stage in 1987. For 18 years, Kent residents have celebrated the holidays with the Bouldings and the Raney family's Irish dancers, watching the children grow up and witnessing the addition of grandchildren. This year's concert will reunite the Boulding and Raney families' three generations of musicians and dancers.

As in past years, the Celtic Yuletide Concert will herald the return of light to a world darkened by winter's sleep. This grand Northwest tradition seamlessly weaves original music and influences from different lands with lively Celtic repertoire. The Boulding's spellbinding music is played on an astonishing array of insturments, including Celtic harps, hammered dulcimers, whistles, strings, percussion and harp-like instruments from around the world. According to tradition, the spirited Raney Irish Dancers will bring the house down with their lightning feet. Storytelling, juggling and percussion by a variety of highly regarded guest performers complete the performance.

The Bouldings and Magical Strings have earned critical acclaim throughout the United States and around the world. The group has toured and recorded with Dan Fogelberg, appeared on Garrison Keillor's "Prarie Home Companion," and recorded 13 albums on Flying Fish/Rounder Records, Earthbeat Records, Magic Hill Music, and their latest title "Where Dragon's Dance" on Allegro's Alula Visions label.

Tickets for Magical Strings' Celtic Yuletide Concert are $14 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. They are available at the Kent Commons, 525 4th Avenue North, Kent, or by phone with Visa or Mastercard during business hours at (253) 856-5050. Spotlight Series is presented by the Kent Arts Commission and Kent Parks, Recreation and Community Services. Kent's 18th Annual Magical Strings Celtic Yuletide Concert is sponsored by Kent Civic and Performing Arts.

The 2004-2005 Spotlight Series features performances by regional, national and international touring artists in a variety of genres. The schedule features 15 performances on three stages and includes something for every interest and all ages. For the complete schedule and more information on Spotlight Series, visit or call (253) 856-5050.


Rhonda Billerbeck

Kent Parks, Recreation & Community Services

(253) 856-5050


Philip Boulding

(253) 857-6402