Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Stroke of Fortune; Coastal Georgia Community College Lures Big Talent for Series

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

A Stroke of Fortune; Coastal Georgia Community College Lures Big Talent for Series

Article excerpt


BRUNSWICK - Harry O'Donoghue told jokes at the expense of his family back in Ireland, played the guitar and bodhran and sang songs that roused and saddened.

His audience at Coastal Georgia Community College - most of whom were gray or graying - loved it, although their attempts at audience participation brought mild ridicule from O'Donoghue. He repeated his act Saturday at the college's Camden Center and it was all free.

O'Donoghue's show was one of a series planned for the academic year, all courtesy of Coastal Georgia Community College's Cultural Affairs Series. Most shows, including musicians, magicians, actors and acrobats, are presented on Fridays and Saturdays at both locations.

A Republic of Ireland native, O'Donoghue lives in Savannah now and hosts The Green Island Show, which features Irish music, on Peach State Public Radio.

A stroke of good fortune brought O'Donoghue back to the CGCC stages, but that's typical, according to Student Life Director Dave Leenhouts.

Leenhouts heads up the series, searching out talent and finding ways to mesh their tour schedules with dates when the college facilities are available.

O'Donoghue had an opening on his slate that fit.

"We got real lucky," Leenhouts said. "Harry's really good. He actually tours more in Europe than he does here."

By being flexible as well as fortunate, Leenhouts is able to lure top talent to his smaller venues.

Internationally acclaimed contemporary violinist/songwriter Tracy Silverman, whom BBC Radio calls "the greatest living exponent of the electric violin," and magician Jason Bishop were among last season's acts, and each was well-received by local audiences.

Leenhouts met them at talent showcases, which are held in Atlanta and other cities, and convinced them to come to Brunswick.

He's excited about the slate he has lined up for this season.

Two more shows are on the schedule for both the Brunswick and Camden locations, with an additional pair on tap for Brunswick only.

Caribbean Sound, which features traditional Calypso music played on steel pans, contemporary dances and original compositions, will play on Jan. …

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