The Alltech Haitian Harmony Benefit Concert last night was spectacular. More than 1,400 people turned out to the University of Kentucky Singletary Center on a Tuesday night to hear the Chieftains and the Alltech Haitian Harmony choir.
I went to the concert expecting to hear a good Chieftains show. I knew that the Haitian Harmony choir would sound good. They have performed at the Alltech Experience Pavilion several times during the Alltech Games. I did not expect such a phenomenal show.
Dr. Lyons walked out on the stage to a round of applause to introduce the Chieftains, poking a little fun at them as he did. "Tonight we have a program which I hope will make each and every one of you join me. Join me in what? Possibly join me in having a little cry. Because in a way that's what it's all about.Our program will start with a group that's been coming to this country for 50 years - five, zero. Some of them tell me that when they first came here they were only 6 years old. I doubt it! Six grammy winners. Countless songs with countless stars and countless locations. From the White House to singing with Mick Jagger they've done it."
The Chieftains had several surprises in store. They rolled out the first one mid-way through the opening song. Irish dancer, Nathan Pilatzke (brother of fiddle player Jon Pilatzke) burst onto the stage, followed by Cara Butler. Then Jon put his fiddle down and joined them. They danced several times throughout the evening. Alyth McCormack sang several songs and Lexington's own McTeggart Irish Dancers, and the United Pipe and Drum Band also came out to join the band.
Haitian Harmony came out twice and sang several songs. They joined Ronan Tynan in on The Impossible Dream along with their voice teachers: Eric Brown and Manuel Castillo, graduate students with the University of Kentucky's School of Music.They also helped close out the evening by joining The Chieftains and all their guests for an emotional rendition of Amazing Grace.
The night was a huge success with donations; and sales of Alltech Café Citadelle and Haitian Harmony t-shirts raising thousands for the Alltech Sustainable Haiti Project.