Monday, September 21, 2020
Sept. 21, 2020

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Relationships fuel Celtic show at Old Liberty Theater in Ridgefield

Friendship between Calif. band Molly's Revenge and owner of venue lasting

By , Columbian county government and small cities reporter
Published:
6 Photos
Joined by Portland-based Irish dancers Brittany Ramsey, left, and Marisa Gilman, Molly's Revenge played a number of original and traditional Celtic songs Sunday at the Old Liberty Theater in Ridgefield.
Joined by Portland-based Irish dancers Brittany Ramsey, left, and Marisa Gilman, Molly's Revenge played a number of original and traditional Celtic songs Sunday at the Old Liberty Theater in Ridgefield. (Photos by James Rexroad for The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Wishing to avoid the role of the authoritarian parent again earlier this year at their Carmel, Calif., home, Suna Price asked her husband, John Weed, to tell their teenage son to quit playing his banjo and go to bed. Instead, Tyler Weed, 14 at the time, piqued his father’s interest with a new tune. Weed, a fiddler, began playing it with Tyler before Price, also a fiddler, eventually joined in as well.

Weed, a fiddler for the band Molly’s Revenge, played that same tune during a show Sunday at the Old Liberty Theater in Ridgefield. The California band — featuring Weed, bagpiper David Brewer and guitarist Stuart Mason playing original and traditional Celtic songs — is in the middle of its 13-stop, 14th annual Winterdance tour. Joining the band is guest singer Amelia Hogan and, on Sunday, Portland-based Irish dancers Brittany Ramsey and Marisa Gilman.

Between each rendition, the performers would engage the crowd of roughly 200 people with stories such as Weed’s bedtime anecdote. It quickly became clear that the performers’ family and friends influenced much of the show.

One of those friends is Don Griswold, the theater’s owner. The relationship began 14 years ago, when Griswold was looking for acts at the theater, and has been renewed each year since.

“We became friends over the years. We’ve become a part of that now,” Griswold said of the band’s yearly tour. “The primary thing is we have a good time and work well together.”

Griswold operated the stage lights Sunday. At one point, Brewer — with holiday lights adorning his bagpipe — praised his use of the theater’s spotlight with a Christmas reference.

“We even have the North Star courtesy of Mr. Don Griswold,” Brewer told the crowd.

The audience included Kathleen Stenstadvold of Camas and her 5-year-old son Ryan. When she lived in San Jose, Calif., in the mid-2000s, Stenstadvold would often attend the band’s performances and struck up a friendship with Weed. Though she lives locally, this was the first time Stenstadvold — who has two children — has attended the performance in Ridgefield.

“Now that my kids are older, I can finally start going,” she said.

Weed, formerly a violinist, switched to the fiddle after growing tired of the classical instrument and hearing Celtic music in a pub. With friends and family intertwined, his passion has continued 25 years later.

“I just think it spoke to something in my DNA,” Weed said.

Columbian county government and small cities reporter
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