A crew of musicians plans to bring a bit of the Irish pub spirit to the Janesville Performing Arts Center this Sunday.
At 4 p.m., JPAC hosts “Why the Irish are Awesome,” a concert to benefit GIFTS Men’s Shelter in Janesville.
Local singer George Wollinger will lead the celebration. He said the event will blend traditional Irish songs with storytelling and Irish history along with jokes and lively banter meant to feel straight out of the old, green sod of the mother country.
“We’ll do lots of songs about love and lost relationships, songs of sorrow and anguish of years of trouble and struggles. You can expect to hear ‘When Irish Eyes are Smiling,’ too,” Wollinger said. “But along with that, we’ll do other traditional pub songs—fun songs that talk about the rascal character of the Irish.”
“And we’re going to make fun of ourselves, and everyone else.”
Wollinger will be accompanied by a piano player and two string players, all of whom are from Janesville. He expects the show to run a little more than an hour.
Proceeds will benefit GIFTS Men’s Shelter, which operates year-round out of a permanent overnight facility with a social service and counseling center at 1025 N. Washington St.. The center opened late last year after years of GIFTS operating mainly out of space in local churches.
GIFTS serves up to 25 homeless men at a time, and it operates off of volunteer efforts and community sponsorships. Much of the shelter’s day-to-day volunteer support comes from local church members.
Wollinger said that, in the past, he’s volunteered as overnight support at the GIFTS shelter, and he’s gotten acquainted with some of the men who have received services there.
“I’ve seen the gentlemen and the success they’ve had with it, as well,” he said. “And I’m happy to try to support what GIFTS is doing for people.”