The newest players in the Celtic cultural phenomenon, vocal group Celtic Woman has announced plans for an extensive tour of North America in 2009. The 72-city Isle of Hope Tour will span 20 weeks, from the February 13 opening show at the Theatre at Xcel in St. Paul, MN, through the July 1-2 closing performances at Red Rocks Amphitheater in Morrison, CO.

Nearly 20 venues will host two-night stands during the course of the trek, including a February 17-18 run at Chicago Theater in Chicago, IL, March 13-14 sets at Radio City Music Hall in New York, NY, and June 17-18 performances at the Performing Arts Center in Nashville, TN. A couple three-night engagements are also booked for March 20-22 at the Citi Performing Arts Center in Boston, MA, and May 15-17 at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle, WA.

Tickets for most dates of the trek are available beginning December 15. However, public on-sales for the latter half of the tour, starting with the May 27-28 shows in Fort Myers, FL, will not be available until March 16 in many cases.

Celtic Woman’s lineup has changed over the years as various vocalists departed temporarily for personal or professional reasons. The lineup to be featured on most dates of the upcoming North American tour includes Chloe Agnew, Mairead Nesbitt, Lynn Hilary, Lisa Kelly, as well as an accompanying choir and band lead by Composer and Musical Director David Downes. According to the Celtic Woman Web site, Alex Sharpe will join the group as a fifth Celtic Woman for nearly 40 shows, from the March 24-25 shows at the Fox Theater in Atlanta, GA, through the three-night run in Seattle, WA.

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“They are the songs, in many cases, and are the reason for any Celtic Woman music to happen,” Downes said of the vocalists on the group’s site. “Their voices and music bring that sound together, bring it to life.”

Ensemble tours featuring traditional Irish song and dance mixed with contemporary overtones have become increasingly popular in the last decade, beginning with the emergence of Riverdance in the mid-1990s. Irish step dancer Michael Flatley’s offshoot Lord of the Dance and male vocal group Celtic Thunder have been some of the latest additions to the craze, selling out numerous shows around the world.

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Celtic Woman itinerary:
(Dates are subject to change.)

February 13 St. Paul, MN Theater at Xcel
February 14 Milwaukee, WI Milwaukee Theatre
February 15 Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena
February 17 – 18 Chicago, IL Chicago Theater
February 20 Detroit, MI Fox Theatre
February 21 – 22 Indianapolis, IN Murat Centre
February 24 – 25 Louisville, KY Louisville Palace Theatre
February 27 Columbus, OH Ohio Theater
February 28 Knoxville, TN Knoxville Civic Auditorium
March 1 Greenville, SC Bi-Lo Center
March 3 – 4 Pittsburgh, PA Benedum Center
March 6 Schenectady, NY Proctors Theatre
March 7 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Casino
March 8 Manchester, NH Verizon Wireless Arena
March 10 Providence, RI Dunkin’ Donuts Center
March 11 Wilkes-Barre, PA Wachovia Arena
March 13 – 14 New York, NY Radio City Music Hall
March 15 Wallingford, CT Chevrolet Theatre
March 17 – 18 Baltimore, MD France-Merrick Performing Arts Center
March 20 – 22 Boston, MA Citi Performing Arts Center
March 24 – 25 Atlanta, GA The Fox Theater
March 26 North Charleston, SC North Charleston Coliseum
March 27 Birmingham, AL Birmingham-Jefferson Concert Hall
March 28 Tallahassee, FL Leon County Civic Center
March 30 – 31 Jacksonville, FL Times Union Center for the Performing Arts
April 2 Gainesville, FL Stephen C. O’Connell Center
April 3 Pensacola, FL Pensacola Civic Center
April 4 Orlando, FL Amway Arena
April 5 Tampa, FL Tampa Bay Performing Arts Center
April 8 – 9 Memphis, TN The Orpheum Theatre
April 10 – 11 St. Louis, MO Fabulous Fox Theatre
April 16 Baton Rouge, LA Baton Rouge River Center
April 17 Houston, TX Toyota Center
April 18 Grand Prairie, TX Nokia Theatre
April 19 Austin, TX Frank Erwin Center
April 23 Phoenix, AZ Dodge Theatre
April 24 Costa Mesa, CA Orange County Performing Arts Center
April 25 Los Angeles, CA Greek Theatre
April 27 – 28 Palm Desert, CA McCallum Theatre
April 29 San Diego, CA San Diego Open Air Theatre
May 1 Fresno, CA Saroyan Theatre
May 2 Santa Barbara, CA Santa Barbara Bowl
May 3 San Jose, CA San Jose Civic Auditorium
May 5 Sacramento, CA Sacramento Memorial Auditorium
May 6 Oakland, CA Paramount Theatre
May 8 Spokane, WA Spokane Arena
May 9 Portland, OR Theater of the Clouds
May 10 Eugene, OR Hult Center for the Performing Arts
May 12 Salt Lake City, UT The E Center
May 13 Boise, ID Morrison Center
May 15 – 17 Seattle, WA Paramount Theatre
May 27 – 28 Fort Myers, FL Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall
May 29 – 30 West Palm Beach, FL Raymond Kravis Center for the Performing Arts
June 1 Savannah, GA Johnny Mercer Theater
June 2 – 3 Charlotte, NC Ovens Auditorium
June 5 Roanoke, VA Roanoke Civic Center
June 6 Raleigh, NC Progress Energy Center
June 7 Portsmouth, VA Ntelos Pavilion
June 8 Vienna, VA Filene Center at the Wolf Trap
June 10 – 11 Cincinnati, OH Aronoff Center
June 12 Youngstown, OH Chevrolet Centre
June 13 Cleveland, OH Playhouse Square Center
June 14 Richmond, VA Landmark Theatre
June 16 Lexington, KY Rupp Arena
June 17 – 18 Nashville, TN Performing Arts Center
June 20 – 21 Philadelphia, PA Mann Center for the Performing Arts
June 23 University Park, PA Bryce Jordan Center
June 24 Fort Wayne, IN Allen County War Memorial
June 26 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center
June 27 Little Rock, AR Alltel Arena
June 28 Tulsa, OK Mabee Center Arena
July 1 – 2 Morrison, CO Red Rocks Amphitheater