The Celtic group Longtime Courting plays on October 25th

The Boston-based all-woman super group Long Time Courting, featuring the talents of four women who each have achieved great success in other groups, comes to Harrisburg on Saturday, October 25, 2014, for a Susquehanna Folk Music Society concert at Fort Hunter, 5300 N. Front Street, Harrisburg. The concert will begin at 7:30 p.m.

The group features Shannon Heaton (flute, accordion, vocals), Liz Simmons (guitar, vocals), Valerie Thompson (cello, vocals) Katie McNally (fiddle, vocals).

Concert tickets are $20 General Admission, $16 for SFMS members and $10 for students ages 3-22. Advance tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets online at or toll-free (800) 838-3006. For more information, visit the Susquehanna Folk Music Society Web site at


I had the chance to interview Longtime Courting’s newest member, fiddler Katie McNally. Katie McNally grew up steeped in fiddle music. She is a former New England Scottish Fiddle Champion and a two time runner up for the National title. She performs with the supergroup Childsplay and in her own solo project, and this past year she could also be seen touring with famed Galician piper Carlos Núñez.

FOLKMAMA: Tell me about Longtime Courting’s sound.

KATIE: We pull together a lot of different influences, but our sound is strongly based in Scottish and Irish music at it’s’ core. Our repertoire is a blend of traditional and contemporary tunes. It’s kind of half songs and half instrumentals.

Each member of the group comes from a different tradition. I grew up playing Scottish and Cape Breton fiddle and Shannon Heaton is an Irish flute player. Liz is more of an American and English folk singer and our cello play is kind of a wild card. She grew up playing classical but also rock and more experimental music.

FOLKMAMA: Do you write some of your own material?

KATIE: Yes. I have a tune that we perform and Liz and Shannon have written some songs that are in the program. We also play some other current tunes that are composed by other people. So that’s the contemporary aspect of our program and there are also old, timeless songs that we do.

FOLKMAMA: Tell me a little bit about yourself and the other band members.

KATIE: I’m a New England Scottish fiddle champion, but I don’t do a lot of competitions right now. I grew up going to a lot of fiddle camps and I teach at a lot of fiddle camps around the country.

We all have our own projects. We all come together from very busy solo careers. I have my own band of Scottish and Cape Breton music. Shannon performs with her husband Matt in a duo doing traditional Irish music. Liz plays in a band with her husband and the fiddler Lissa Schneckenburger. Their focus is on bluegrass and New England fiddle tunes. And our cello player, Valerie Thompson, plays with Laura Cortese and her band.

FOLKMAMA: You are all singers, and there is some really nice four part harmony on your CD. Do you trade off taking the lead?

KATIE: I don’t sing all that much, but everyone else trades off on leads singing and we do sing in four part harmony. That’s really also important to our sound.

FOLKMAMA: What are you like in concert? Do you talk to the audience, tell them about the different songs?

KATIE: Basically, we want it to be like a house party. We like to bring the audience in. Have them participate. We do have a couple of sing a longs.

FOLKMAMA: With everyone so busy with their various projects, we feel really fortunate to be getting you for this performance. How often does the band tour?

KATIE: About four tours a year with a smattering of other dates here and there.

FOLKMAMA: Where did the name come from? Perhaps it was taken from the name of a fiddle tune?

KATIE: It’s kind of a joke. We have a bunch of friends in the Boston area that were a long time courted, or waited to be courted. We think the name sounds kind of folksy.

FOLKMAMA: What’s new with the group?

KATIE: I feel like since I’ve joined the line-up that we’ve really been honing our sound, adding new material to the repertoire. We’re gearing up to record an EP in December and some music videos. So we’ll be trying out some new things and have been really polishing things up for you guys!

FOLKMAMA: About how old are the women in the group?

KATIE: It’s really a wide age range. I won’t tell you who, but one of us is in their 20s and two are in their 30s and one if in their 40s.

FOLKMAMA: And you are able to bridge the age gaps with the music!

KATIE: Yes, that’s one of my favorite things about playing traditional music is that some of my best friends are 20 years older than me and I have some students that I’m really close to who are 6 years old. It’s a part of my life that where there is no age discrimination which is pretty amazing.



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