• Concert Program
  • Music Director’s Welcome
  • Translations & Lyrics to sing along!
  • Performer Bios


For those joining from home via livestream:
click here to see the concert program

From Mary Cunningham, Music Director

Welcome to Celtic Roots! Tonight, we are setting off on a journey, exploring music from the many Celtic lands:  From the shores of Western Europe and the British Isles to North America and beyond! The music of the Celts is spirited, resilient and passionate, touching the whole world with its wild and soulful strength.

It has been my great pleasure and honor to lead the Mystic Chorale this season. I have been received warmly by this wonderful community of voices and awed by their deep love of singing out with power and joy!

Our amazing guest musicians Matt and Shannon Heaton, Ellery Klein and Valerie Thompson will be expertly adding their flair and authenticity to our program. And long-time Mystic pianist Ruth Roper is also on board, accompanying us with great love and skill.

We present this concert with all the heart, soul and magnificence for which this chorale is so well known. Audience participation is core to the Mystic Chorale experience, so please sing along with us when guided!

Thank you for your support of live performance and enjoy the show!


We invite you to sing along with us, where you see the lyrics in BOLD.
For a printable version of the lyrics and translations, click here.

Padstow May Song

SING: Unite and unite, now let us all unite,
For summer is a-comin today;
And whither we are going, we all will unite,
In the merry morning of May!

A Rianxeira (The Lady from Rianxo) 

SING: Ondiñas veñen, ondiñas veñen, ondiñas veñen e van,
Non te em barques, Rianxeira, que te vas a marerar! 2x

Translation: Waves come and go, come and go,
Don’t get on the boat, Lady from Rianxo, for you’re going to get seasick!
Our Lady of Guadalupe when she’s walking by the riverbank,
Barefoot on the sand, she looks like a girl from Rianxo
Our Lady of Guadalupe, what makes her skin so brown?
A moonbeam that shone through the window
Our Lady of Guadalupe, when she came to Rianxo,
The little ship that brought her was built of orangewood

Calon Lân (Pure Heart)

Translation: A pure heart full of goodness
Is fairer than the pretty lily,
None but a pure heart can sing,
Sing in the day and sing in the night.

Sweet Rose of Allendale

SING: Sweet rose of Allendale [2x]
By far the sweetest flower there was the rose of Allendale

Sweet rose of Allendale 2x
One maiden fair withstood the storm was the rose of Allendale

Sweet rose of Allendale 2x
Had fate not linked my lot to her, Sweet rose of Allendale

Dulaman (Seaweed)

Translation: “O, gentle daughter, here come the wooing men”
“O, gentle mother, put the wheels in motion for me”
Seaweed from the yellow cliff, Irish seaweed
Seaweed from the ocean, the best in all of Ireland
There is a yellow-gold head on the Irish seaweed
And two bare ears on the Irish seaweed
“I would go to Derry with the Irish seaweed”
“I would buy expensive shoes,” says the Irish seaweed
Black speckled shoes on the Irish seaweed
And a fancy beret and trousers
“What are you doing here?” asks of the Irish seaweed
“A-courting with your daughter,” says the Irish seaweed
“O, where are you taking my daughter?” asks of the Irish seaweed
“Well, I’d take her with me,” says the Irish seaweed

Botany Bay

SING: Too-ra-li oo-ra-li ad-dy,
Too-ra-li oo-ra-li ay,
Too-ra-li oo-ra-li ad-dy,
Sailin’ for Botany Bay.


Will The Circle Be Unbroken

Will the circle be unbroken by and by, Lord, by and by,
There’s a better home a-waitin’ in the sky, Lord, in the sky!



Musical Director: Mary Cunningham
Mary Cunningham is active as a conductor, performer and educator in the Boston area. Since 2004 she has served as Artistic Director for the Halalisa Singers, spearheading dynamic world music-themed concerts for the Arlington-based chorus originally founded by Nick Page. Mary is in her 10th year as Music Director of the UU Church of Reading, teaches flute and directs flute and youth choirs at Powers Music School, and conducts the Watch City Singers in Waltham.

She is a frequent performer with Revels, performing in several shows on stage at Harvard’s Sanders Theatre and acting as assistant music director in 2011. A long-time member of the Revels Repertory Company, she was appointed music and creative director for the musical theater ensemble In Good Company in 2013.

Internationally, she has studied choral conducting with Simon Carrington at the Sarteano Workshop in Tuscany, conducted and performed in both Scotland and Ireland, toured India as flutist and vocalist with the Deborah Abel Dance Company, Eastern Europe with the Unitarian Universalist Partner Church Festival Chorus, and Germany and Austria with the Vienna International Institute and National Flute Association.

Mary has sung with the Tanglewood Festival Chorus and Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, and currently sings with the New World Chorale. She is a member of the American Choral Directors Association and a Credentialed Music Leader with the Unitarian Universalist Association. She holds a Masters in Music at the Cleveland Institute of Music after degree training in choral conducting and flute performance at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, and a Bachelor of Science degree in music education from Case Western Reserve University.

Mary is the proud parent of two amazing daughters and lives in Medford with her tenor husband Ron and gentle giant cat “Dusty”. 

Guest Artists: Matt and Shannon Heaton
With engaging stage presence and masterfully-crafted music, Boston-based Matt and Shannon Heaton offer well-traveled Irish music from the heart. Steeped in sessions in County Clare and brewed in the acoustic music scenes of Chicago and Boston, their flute/guitar/bouzouki instrumentals and sweet husband-and-wife harmony singing draw deeply from the Irish tradition.

The Heatons also gently incorporate the Thai music Shannon learned as a kid and rootsy Americana sounds that surrounded them during their three years in bluegrass-haven Boulder, Colorado.Since their move to Boston in 2001, the Heatons have become an integral part of Boston’s vibrant trad music scene. Shannon co-founded Boston’s Celtic music fest and served on its board for 15 years, creating performance and mentoring opportunities for hundreds of traditional musicians and dancers. She was named Massachusetts Traditional Artist Fellow in 2016, and she hosts the culture podcast Irish Music Stories.

Matt has performed with countless ensembles, including the Karan Casey Band, Boys of the Lough, and Robbie O’Connell. In addition to his work as an Irish accompanist on guitar and bouzouki, Matt is an active performer for children and families. He has received multiple MCC grants for his engaging sing alongs and rockabilly tinged albums. He also fronts surf-rock band Electric Heaters.Matt and Shannon are comfortable onstage and have a warm connection with their audiences. They are world class American performers with Irish roots and universal appeal.“Their playing is masterful and inventive, their arrangements city-smart and spacious. Still, they never forget that Irish music is, at its heart, a neighborly form, meant for sharing, not showing off.” —The Boston Globe

Valerie Thompson (she/her/hers) is a Boston-based cellist/composer/songwriter/improviser who has performed nationally and internationally in rock bands, string quartets, pit orchestras, chamber folk ensembles and as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. State Department. A cellist versed in many genres, Valerie currently tours with Laura Cortese & the Dance Cards, the MIDI-Marimba/cello duo, Goli, and Know Orchestra. Valerie holds a Bachelors of Music in Music Performance from the Berklee College of Music and a Masters of Music in Contemporary Improvisation from the New England Conservatory. Film/play composer credits include the A. Jacks (Trusette Entertainment & 3 Legged Bird Productions-2022), Umbrella Stage Company’s Bent (2020), and Bony Lil’s Creation (Extravagant Bedhead Productions-2007).

Fun Fact: You can catch Valerie in the 100th episode of WB’s Gossip Girl.

Ellery Klein is a fiddler and violinist in the Boston area. She performs with the Irish traditional fiddle, flute and guitar trio Fódhla, as well as the triple-fiddle high energy quintet The Bow Tides, who released their first recording, “Sailing On,” in late 2022. She also is passionate about teaching fiddle and violin, with a large studio of youth and adult fiddlers in Medford and Belmont, MA.

Ruth Roper was the rehearsal and/or performance pianist for nearly half of Mystic Chorale’s concerts over the past 32 years. In 1997 she guest-directed a program of “Mystic River” music with the chorale, and in 2010 stepped in as emergency conductor for the “Upward” concert. She recently retired after 40+ years as a church, community, and seminary musician, but was delighted to be lured out of retirement for this season with Mystic.