Zebra Strings mix, mingle, play for and then watch Celtic Woman perform


A bit of serendipity fell my way in early April when I was scanning TV channels. I stopped on Channel 13 and caught a few minutes of Celtic Woman – four women performing Irish-style music in a dynamic theatrical setting. One of the performers is Tara McNeil, an accomplished violinist.

Suddenly, God gave me an idea, reminding me that Grandview Elementary School, just 30 miles south of Fort Worth, features the Zebra Strings. Every student -over 300 of them – is required to play a stringed instrument for one hour per day for the entire school year.

At a time that some school districts are phasing out the arts (much like in the movie “Mr. Holland’s Opus”), here is a school that is moving in the other direction. So, I reached out to my friend, Grandview Elementary School Principal, Kathrine Stewart (her husband, Robert, is my client at Grandview Bank), and shared a thought.

“What if we could convince Celtic Woman – a world renowned Irish quartet on their tour stop in Grand Prairie on Thursday, April 25 – to do a meet-and-greet with the Zebra Strings and maybe allow the students to play a few tunes for the ladies?

I reached out to the Celtic Woman publicity department and was shocked to receive a reply early the next morning from their home office in Ireland. “This definitely sounds like something that would be of interest!”

From that day – April 11 – through the 25th, we worked out the details. And yesterday it all came into fruition.

The story of the Zebra Strings so impressed Celtic Woman management that they scheduled the meet-and-greet yesterday, after which the Zebra Strings students serenaded the ladies with four short songs. The students were then treated to the sound check, where they saw the performers in a rehearsal, and they returned at 7:30 for the actual performance. Grandview Bank joined with the Grandview PTO to pay for the trip and promotion.

The four members of Celtic Woman – all from Ireland – are:

In case you are not familiar with Celtic Woman, this group is the world-renowned, Grammy® nominated, multi-platinum singing sensation that is on their 70-stop Ancient Land tour of the United States. The ensemble features original compositions, traditional Irish songs and reimagined contemporary songs as they combine the finest Irish musical talent with epic stage productions.

Celtic Woman has been named Billboard’s #1 World Music Artist of the Year six times and has been regularly featured at #1 on Billboard’s World Album Chart.

Grandview Elementary School Principal, Kathrine Stewart said it best: “This is a chance of a lifetime for our students. To learn from a world-renowned group as Celtic Woman just brings music education to a higher level. When the door opened for us to possibly get this chance, we jumped on it just hopeful to get to talk with them. We are as excited as the students at this opportunity.”

Zebra Strings director, Vicki Nichols, added, “What a great honor for our Zebra Strings to meet this extremely talented group. I know our students will learn so much about what goes on behind the scenes of this beautiful production of the Celtic Woman. And we were thrilled to have the opportunity to play with Celtic Woman!”

The story captured the clever imagination of News 8/WFAA feature reporter Sean Giggy, who was all over this unique blend of education combined with both amateur and professional theatrical performance. His feature should run in the 6:00 a.m. hour on News 8 on Monday.

Leaders are well-known, well-liked, and well-respected.
And, they tend to do far more business.