Órlapalooza!

From Kelli--

Since the inception of Órla's Garden, we've had a dream of getting together a large group of Órla's fans. Órlapalooza is the culmination of that dream. With 32 attendees, we had so much fun we've decided to make this an annual event! The photos and memories below represent our friendship, fun, and shared love of the incomparable Órla Fallon!

Zee and I wanted to make this memorable, so each attendee was given a commemorative mug filled with special M & Ms. Make plans to attend next year to see what we're already planning!

Órlapalooza group dinner

Órlapalooza group dinner



Attendee gift: M&Ms

Attendee gift: M&Ms



Attendee gift: Mug

Attendee gift: Mug



Kelli and Órla

Kelli and Órla



Órla and Zee

Órla and Zee

From Zee--

When Orla's management first announced, in a note to Orla's Garden members, that a major solo tour was being planned for our girl, the wheels were set in motion for Orlapalooza! It was Kelli's idea to have a gathering of fans at the first stop on Orla's tour to support her and get the tour off to a great start. The city chosen for the kick-off was Salt Lake City, Utah and so, the plotting and planning began!!

Kelli and I (or as Orla likes to call us "Cagney and Lacey"!) wanted the event to be special, not only for Orla, but for the members of The Garden who were coming far and wide for the concert. We knew we wanted a pre-concert meal and so, after some investigative work from some of our members, we decided upon the Red Rock Brewing Company for the dinner. In addition, we wanted to give everyone a little something to remember the event. So, we held a contest for a graphic to be used for Orlapalooza . I am constantly amazed at the graphic talents of some of our members! However, we could only choose one and the winning graphic went to Garden member Marcie. AND, a beautiful graphic it was too!! Kelli took the graphic and had it imprinted on coffee mugs that were given to everyone attending Orlapalooza, as well as Orla and her entire management team. But, we wanted something more and so, I checked out the site for personalized M & M's. We chose M & M's in the colors of the Irish flag tied up with a nice green ribbon!! You can see the imprints on the candies compliments of Mikey who took a wonderful close-up of the goodies! LOL

Finally, the long awaited event was here. People started arriving at our Headquarters - the Hampton Inn Downtown in Salt Lake City. Many people flew but there were quite a few who drove a distance to be there to celebrate Orlapalooza and support the object of all our affections, Ms.Orla Fallon!

After a night's rest and a breakfast gathering in the morning, Kelli and I went back to the room to put all the goodies together. We had had the candy and mugs shipped to the hotel and we held our collective breath as we opened the boxes hoping the mugs were not broken or the M & M's squished! LOL But, thanks to careful packing, all was well. PHEW!!

Kelli and I were thrilled to be able to spend some time with Orla before the dinner the day of the concert. It's no secret that we both love Orla to death! As a matter of fact, it was our mutual admiration for Orla while she was with Celtic Woman, that led to our becoming friends. It is always a thrill to be in Orla's company. She is just so special and so caring. Nothing is ever rushed and she has the ability to make you feel that you have been friends all your life. After a very nice chat, it was off to sound check for her and we were invited to join her backstage. We got to meet Tin Cup Gypsy, the band that is currently touring with her, and say hello again to Dan Shea and fiddle player Amberly. Everyone couldn't have been nicer to us. Orla had a telephone interview to do during a break in the sound-check (the woman is a whirlwind!) and so, Kelli and I bid all farewell and made our way over to the Red Rock Brewing Co. for the dinner. After re-fueling out stomachs, it was back to the hotel to get ready for the concert.

Finally, the time for Orla's kick-off concert was here. We all settled into our seats in the first several rows and prepared for a special night's entertainment. And, special it was. I think one of the things that I love about an Orla concert is her rapport with the audience. It's like you are sitting in your living room and she is conversing with you about the music - the stories behind the songs, why certain songs have special meaning to her, etc. I have never experienced that intimacy in any other concert - and I have been to a few!

Orla also has a way of making people in the crowd feel special by dedicating songs to them, mentioning their names, or blowing kisses. I wonder if she realizes how much that means to those people. Having been one of those lucky recipients, I can tell you it is indeed a VERY special, and emotional, moment.

After a simply wonderful night of music from Orla, Dan, Amberly, and Tin Cup Gypsy, it was time for the Meet and Greet. There is no other performer that I have ever met who takes the time with each and every one of her fans that Orla does. She had to be tired. It was a long day for her. But, each and every person got to spend quality time with her, have things signed, and have their picture taken with her. No sitting behind a table for Orla. She is on her feet, shaking hands and giving hugs. That gorgeous smile never faded.

At last, the night was over. Well, almost! LOL There was a post-concert get together back in the Hampton Inn lobby with a visit from Orla's manager Denny Young and tour manager Rory Johnston. How many managers do you know that want to meet with the fans and thank them personally for supporting their performer? Not many. Denny and Rory are like Orla - special!

Finally, Orlapalooza came to an end. It's always hard having to say good-bye to friends, both old and new. I can't think of a lovelier group of people. It was a special couple of days spent with some of the nicest people I know, gathered together to support and celebrate a very, very special lady. And, Orla is just that...a lady. Class like hers can't be faked. It's innate and we are the richer for basking in her glow!

Zee

p.s. This was supposed to be a short review! LOL

Zee and Órla

NOTHING beats an Orla hug!



Órla, Kelli, and Kaylie

Órla, Kelli, and Kaylie

From Kaylie--

Four years ago in Red Rocks, Colorado was a very special night for me, full of "firsts." It was my first time in Colorado. It was my first time, after several months of conversing online to meet my good friend, Kelli, in person. Although I had been to several Celtic Woman concerts before, it was my first meet-and-greet. I was one of the first to witness the beginning to a beautiful and special relationship between our good friend Kelli and Orla. And, it was MY first time meeting Orla. A lot of exciting and unforgettable memories. So when I heard about Orlapalooza in Salt Lake City I certainly wanted to be a part of the 2011 tour kick-off and possibly revisit some of those firsts. And what an amazing event it was! It's always nice to find commonalities with other people such as liking the same types of food, enjoying the same movies, or more fitting in this case, sharing a love of the same music. But to be able to enjoy that lyrical link together AND strengthen deep and enduring friendships that are born from that shared passion is a rare and extremely uplifting experience. The concert was full of beautiful music and it was fun to see Orla, a little nervous at first, take the stage and put on a great show. Each heartfelt performance made you feel at ease and embraced by the warmth, friendliness, and grace that Orla exudes, and those qualities that make us love Orla so much certainly carried over from the stage to the meet and greet. As Orla put it "It's lovely to see so many lovely friends, new friends and old friends," and that is exactly how Orla makes you feel, like a friend. So thank you Orla for sharing your talents and for making us all feel like friends. To Denny, thank you for hanging out with us at the hotel and sharing a behind the scenes look into your and Orla's musical world. Thank you to all those friends, new and old, for making memories, taking pictures, offering hugs, and sharing laughs. To Kelli and Zee, thank you for organizing the occasion and for the wonderful gifts. Until next time...

Kaylie Steel

Amberly and Kaylie

Amberly and Kaylie



Kaylie and Kelli

Kaylie and Kelli



Gary and Órla

Gary and Órla



Amberly and Gary

Amberly and Gary



From Ruth Ann--

My niece and I were excited to head for Salt Lake City to participate in Orlapalooza, the kickoff for Orla's spring tour, 2011. In spite of some problems prior to leaving and some tricky weather during our drive down from Idaho, we were anxious to get to see Orla live, and to meet some new friends. I was especially excited that I'd be meeting not only Orla, but Zee and Kelli for the first time as well. We also met several wonderful new friends at the dinner, and had a wonderful time. Then we took a bit of a walk until time for the concert to begin.

When we walked in and saw the Tin Cup Gypsy table, I was immediately drawn to it and began to speak with Tyler about what type of music they play. He was so friendly and I really enjoyed my conversation about music with him. I was just blown away by their talent and by the joy they showed in being able to share their own music and to be Orla's band during the tour.

Then Orla came out, and this being my first time to see her live since she went solo, I was anxious to see how she approached things. I knew the music would be great, and it was! What I really enjoyed, though, was the little anecdotes about her thoughts and feelings for the songs she chose to play and sing for us that evening. I had to laugh when she made fun of herself for saying each song was a favorite or had special meaning for her because I knew exactly how she felt. I'm the same way about the music I perform.

When my niece and I got to meet her after the concert, I was so touched as she inquired with genuine concern how I was doing. She knew I'd been struggling emotionally. It had just been the 1 year anniversary of my sister's passing, which is how my niece came to live with me. She truly cared. She also talked to my niece about how it was going and noticed her footwear, giving her a nice compliment on it. She did what she does best...she made us both feel truly special. It was truly a very special evening and we will never forget it.

---Ruth Ann Helton and her niece, Evelyn Broad

Ruth Ann, Órla and Evelyn

Ruth Ann, Órla and Evelyn



Kathryn, Steve and Órla

Kathryn, Steve and Órla



Órla and George

"The divil! He didn't tell me he was coming!"



Órla and Lucie

Órla and Lucie



Órla
Órla
Órla
Meet and Greet


Hannah and Órla

Hannah and Órla



Jill and Órla

Jill and Órla



Jill

This is what Jill did throughout dinner!



From Randy--

We had a fantastic time it was a great early anniversary outing with a great group of people. I tried to talk to as many as I could and wish we could have stayed longer. It was great to talk to George and Gary and their families and everyone else.

The concert was great I wish I could go to more to get it all in.

Orlagh really tries to remember everyone she meets at these meet and greets. She asked if we had not met before and I mumbled a reply that only through Kelli and the rest I had to live vicariouly until now. She is a caring person and I enjoyed watching first hand how she interacted with all of you.

Karmin, Órla and Randy

Karmin, Órla and Randy



Kate and Órla

Kate and Órla



Joe

Joe in his natural state



Joe and Kathy

Joe filming; Kathy guiding



From Mikey--

This being my first Órla concert, I didn't know what to expect. Everyone kept telling me I was in for a real treat, so I set the bar really high for Órla. But even with those high expectations I was still blown away! Órla was amazing. After hearing the songs from her CDs for so long it was nice to see them performed live and watch Órla's emotions as she sings the lyrics. Simply breathtaking. The other band members did a phenomenal job, as well, adding even more talent to the stage. Between the marvelous concert and all the new friends I made, it was a fantastic couple of days. I wish I could go back and do it all over again.

Kelly, Órla, Mikey and Judy

Kelly, Órla, Mikey and Judy



From Brent--

Purchased all Orla's music and already knew she was something beyond special, but last night...WOW! Orla has the facility to reach into your heart and make you feel you are the only one in the theater, with a moving and gentle voice that touches beauty as I never knew anyone could. She sings of Ireland, of home, of love and just plain beauty. Meanwhile she converses with her audience, and becomes one with them with a smile.

Orla has dramatically expanded her scope in music and demonstrated her immense talent, polished by years with Celtic Woman, but really all her own. She is soft and gentle, but some songs, such as "Soul Cake", she does purely for the fun of it. And she can really belt 'em out when she so wishes!

Go, go now, and see her wherever you can!



George and David

George and David

From David--

First Annual Órlapalooza

It was one of those exquisite moments...

A few of us Órla's Garden members were chatting in our hotel lobby early Thursday afternoon. That was when it completely sunk-in. This was the long awaited Órlapalooza! I was really here and during the next several hours my wife and I would share comradarie over a meal with 30 plus Garden members, witness Órla's tour launch from the front row and speak with her after her performance. For me it is simple moments like this that are often very profound. It also caused me to reflect on how God has continuously blessed my life far more than I deserve.

Americans love Órla Fallon! Our gathering had representatives from the far corners, the heartland, the gulf coast and the intermountain west. Most of us had orchestra section seats. We weren't there simply as consumers of incredibly fine music. We were also there to support and encourage "our girl" as she embarks upon this very important chapter in her exciting career.

The concert was beyond WONDERFUL! Before hand Órla's manager, Denny Young, told us we were in for something really special. Even his sage advice could not prepare me! Perhaps I shouldn't go into much detail for fear of spoiling.

What I will write is Órla was on top her game. Her stage presence is as captivating as ever and her presentation is as pure and honest as we have come to know and love. The very accomplished Nashville musicians Tin Cup Gypsy are clearly honored and worthy to be Órla's band for the tour as is Amberly Rosen on fiddle. Everybody provides backing vocals and Órla already has everyone singing in Gaeilge! Such a beautiful sound! The set list is incredible and 5 or 6 numbers longer than I expected. Huge thanks to Dan "the man" Shea for organizing all of this beautiful music and playing keyboards.

I will risk this partial spoiler and say that the one new Órla song (to me) is I'll Fly Away. Órla and her Troupe present this in a very Bluegrass and very fun way. You just have to see it yourself!

Órla has that rare ability to make you feel like she has asked you over to a little house concert at a mutual friend's place. It is Órla's desire to speak a bit about nearly every song or tune. She expresses why she loves the song, what it means to her and encourages each person in the audience to find a place in their own heart for it. Órla is very good and so honest with this; it is one of the many things that make her so special. By doing so Órla also slows the pace down and gives one time to savor each moment of her performance.

The Meet and Greet would be casual and unstructured. Órla likes to meet her friends, as she calls her fans, on her feet with no furniture causing separation. Órla must be the warmest and most personable star on the planet! Such a joy to be part of this, yet I fear we kept Órla up way too late.

It was near midnight when Órla's manager, Denny Young (Elevation Group) joined our quiet get-together back at our hotel lobby. Denny sat and talked with about 15 of us for perhaps 25 minutes or so. Truly a nice and knowledgeable man! Órla is fortunate to have found him.

Attending Órlapalooza was a birthday present from my lovely wife. It is the best birthday present I've ever received! These wonderful memories will stay with me the rest of my days.

David, northern Nevada, USA

David and Órla

David and Órla



Gary

One of those "You had to be there" moments!



Kelli and Zee

"How do they dust that?"

(sightseeing at the Tabernacle)



And finally, from Ms. Orla herself--

Hello Dear Friends,

I truly cannot thank you all enough for the huge effort and expense you all put in to come to Salt Lake City last night. Your support and friendship is so special and I think the world of you all.

Denny and I were talking today about how amazing you all are and he was delighted that he got the opportunity to spend some time with you last night.I'm sorry that I couldn't make it but I was really exhausted and went straight back to the hotel and got into bed.

I hope you all made it home safely and without any dramas .

I feel so blessed by you all and it is always such a joy to see you in the audience and to chat with you afterwards.

I have to specially thank Kelli and Zee for organising the Orlaplooza.I know they worked really hard on getting everyone together and they really should go into event management as their organisational skills are just beyond compare ! I love the mug and felt very posh with the MnM's.Thank you girls.Don't know what I'd do without you !

'Till we meet again ,I wish you all well and can never thank you enough for the way in which you have blessed my life.

Love always,

O xxx





Please check Orla's tour page to attend a concert near you!