Dublin Villager

The Willis Clan

Concert to benefit musical family, Scioto musicians


A few Dublin Scioto High School musicians will get an opportunity to learn from a group that has played the Dublin Irish Festival and has its own TV show.

While members of the Willis Clan are in central Ohio for a private concert, they'll make a stop at Scioto to play and teach.

Plans are still in the works, but Scioto band teacher Jim Gray said Irish Fiddle Fetish, a Scioto high school performing group, will likely get time with the group of 12 siblings.

"It really came to us by accident," Gray said . Dave Matthews from Prime Tours sent something out," he said.

"It went to Coffman (High School), but the band director forwarded it to me and said 'It looks like something you would get involved with.' "

After talks with Matthews, who is helping to sponsor the stop in Dublin while the group is in town, teaching time with students and a concert at 8 p.m. Jan. 11 at Scioto High School were set.

"They do blue grass and fiddling," Gray said.

"We thought it was natural for us to fit it in with Irish Fiddle Fetish," Gray said. "We put it together real quick."

Scioto's fiddle group has been around for about 10 years and has played with Eileen Ivers, but an experience with the Willis Clan will offer a unique opportunity, Gray said.

"(They haven't played) with a group that performs at this level," he said.

"What I like about it is they're going to be working with a group of this magnitude, but the kids are between ages 21 and 3.

"The Willis group is in their teens. I think it will be really nice for them to see what they're capable of when they put their mind to it," Gray said.

The Willis Clan plays many instruments and many compete in Irish dance competitions.

Along with touring as a musical group, the family has a reality TV show on the Great American Country network.

After working with the Willis Clan, Gray plans for students to play a few songs with them at the Jan. 11 concert.

"The Willis Clan is touring Ireland in April. Irish Fiddle Fetish is touring Ireland in June," Gray said.

"Part of what we're hoping to do with this is sell out the concert so the Willis Clan can make some money and we can make money to go to Ireland."

Irish Fiddle Fetish tours Ireland about every three years, Gray said, and on its third trip is planning six to eight concerts.

The group is hoping to play the Guinness storehouse in Dublin, a spot in County Cork and Kilkenny, among others.

"We'll tour around and give the kids a chance to experience history," Gray said.

Tickets to the Jan. 11 Willis Clan concert in the Marina Davis Performing Arts Center at Scioto High School, 4000 Hard Road, are $12. Tickets can be purchased online at showtix4u.com or by calling 866-967-8167.