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Sisters share love of Irish music

A pair of teenage sisters from Wabasha who have been gaining attention on the Irish music scene will present a concert at 7 p.m. March 6 at the Jon Hassler Theater in Plainview, Minn.

Rebecca Garrigan, 16, and Rowan Garrigan, 12, are producing the performance as their latest home-school project.

The two sisters have been playing traditional Irish tunes together since Rebecca was 11 and Rowan was 8. They originally learned by ear from CDs, and then studied for several years at The Center For Irish Music in St. Paul.

According to their mother, MaryBeth Garrigan, they have played on the stages of the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul, Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis, and Irish fairs of St. Paul, Milwaukee and Chicago. Rebecca took second place in competitions in St. Louis.

The girls, who took the name "Garrigan's Quarrel" after a favorite O'Carollan tune, play any style of Irish music from mellow traditional tunes to rowdy pub songs and "rock 'n' reel" ballads. Rowan Garrigan performs on Irish fiddle and sings, and Rebecca Garrigan switches on pennywhistle, flute, mandolin, mandocello, Irish tenor banjo, guitar, piano and vocals.

Joining them will be their mother, who is director of the National Eagle Center in Wabasha. She will assist with backup guitar during various gigs this season.

The teenagers rented the theater for "Quarrel at the Hassler" with their savings from earnings of other gigs, their parents said.

"They are hoping to bring a special audience together for a pre-St. Patrick's Day celebration," Mark Garrigan said. There'll be traditional reels, jigs and hornpipes.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $15. Call Garrigans at (800) 798-0324 or e-mail, or contact the Hassler at (507) 534-2900 for credit card sales.

For more about the musicians, go online to www.garrigansquarrel.