"Travelers411" Radio Show - May 16, 2015
Tanglewood lawn (Photography: Stu Rosner).  Tanglewood, Lenox, Massachusetts, USA.
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Hour 1

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Allan Seiden, Photographer, Author, Historian, Archivist and Publisher, Oahu, Hawaii, USA.

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Allan Seiden, Photographer, Author, Historian, Archivist and Publisher, Oahu, Hawaii, USA.

Hour 2

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Click here to listen to Kim Noltemy, Chief Marketing Officer, Boston Symphony Orchestra interviewed by Stephanie Abrams without commercials.

Kim Noltemy, Chief Marketing Officer, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Tanglewood's Summer 2015 Lineup

Travel Expert and Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams talks with Kim Noltemy, Chief Marketing Officer for the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The focus of this interview is the Tanglewood 2015 summer season.
Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts is the summer home of the Boston Symphony and a perfect getaway to enjoy fine music and entertainment. In addition to BSO performances, visitors will also find the Boston Pops as well as what Stephanie describes as "amazing, globally known, world class musicians, singers, conductors as well as composers whose work is being performed". Stephanie paints Tanglewood as an elegant, relaxed, trendy venue where world-class music is performed.

Kim Noltemy describes Tanglewood as an open air pavilion with lush and beautiful grounds to walk around. It is set on a 500 acre property with various indoor, outdoor, and mixed use performance spaces. The facility offers tours of the grounds where patrons can explore Tanglwood's gardens and paths. A visit to Tanglewood is about more than the performance. The grounds and space itself are a large part of what makes a Tanglewood experience so memorable.

Kim Noltemy says that the Tanglewood campus includes the Tanglewood Music Center which is an academy of musical learning and study. She says that when patrons walk around Tanglewood during the day they will hear music performed in every building throughout the campus because "students" are at work and in rehearsal. Kim says she hesitates to even call them students because they are all professional level musicians. Describing the grounds, Kim says the combination of old growth trees, gorgeous Berkshire County vistas, and views of the adjacent lake Stockbridge Bowl all contribute to Tanglewood's peaceful and relaxing atmosphere.

Kim Noltemy says people are always stunned by the views and that though there are indoor seating options available, approximately 50% of the audience prefers to sit on the estate's massive lawn instead. There they can fully enjoy the sunset and at night sit or lay beneath the stars while enjoying a performance. During the daytime, Kim says it is great to walk around and enjoy seeing other visitors having picnics on the lawn. Kim says many visitors almost make a contest of the lavishness of their picnics and Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams agrees that many do put a lot of attention into their picnic and mentions that there's now a service where you can order a picnic through Tanglwood's facilities instead of preparing your own. Stephanie describes some of the more elaborate picnics as including attentions to detail such as lace table cloths, silver candelabras, and wine buckets with various wines and Champagnes in them.

There are multiple indoor venues on the Tanglewood campus. The Shed is the largest covered space with seating for about 5000 people. It's exposed to the open air on 3 sides with an acoustical wall located behind the orchestra section.

The Berkshires of Massachusetts are replete with other arts and entertainment options to plan around a visit to Tanglewood. Some include the Norman Rockwell Museum, the home of Daniel Chester French the sculptor responsible for the design of the sculpture of USA President Abraham Lincoln sitting in his chair located at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, to mention a few. The Berkshires are well known as a cultural magnet for world class music, dance, crafts and art.

Kim Noltemy, Chief Marketing Officer for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, says that Tanglewood attracts people of all walks of life and age ranges including families, which are often multi-generational and include grandparents, parents and kids. For families visiting with younger children who may be too restless to enjoy some of the performances, there is a Kids Corner for children to play, with lots of activities to occupy them, away from the concert. Overall, she says, Tanglewood is also a great way for people who aren't familiar with classical music to come and experience it in a really relaxed environment.

Kim and Stephanie agree that each year Tanglewood features a "who's who" of the classical world including famous names such as Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Pianist Emanuel Ax, Violinist Joshua Bell, and some of the most famous conductors and singers. This year Tanglewood will see Jazz Artist Wynton Marsalis and John Pizzarelli. Tanglewood has added some comedy performances to its seasonal offerings including Eddie Izzard performing on August 27, 2015 and a live performance of the well known NPR show "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me".

Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams reiterates the wide variety of programming that Tanglewood offers throughout its summer season with performances ranging from Classical to Jazz, Pop Music, Comedy as well as special events such as its annual Film Night and Tanglewood on Parade.

Kim Noltemy reminds listeners that they can visit tanglewood.org where they can find information about the seasons' calendar and order tickets. This year she says the season is starting a little early with performances by the Boston Pops with Conductor Keith Lockhart. She says Keith is celebrating his 20th year with the Boston Pops. Guest singer/artist Cheryl Crow will perform on Friday night June 19, 2015 at Tanglewood. On June 20,, 2015 Keith Lockhart is leading a Sondheim concert. June 21, 2015 will feature Jazz pianist and singer Diana Krall.

The official Boston Symphony Orchestra summer season begins July 3, 2015 with an all American program featuring compositions by Harbison, Gershwin, Copland and Ellington. Tanglewood on Parade upcoming on August 4, 2015 features all three orchestras: The Boston Pops, The Boston Symphony Orchestra and the Tanglewood Music Center orchestra. Each year Tanglewood on Parade concludes with a performance of Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture which climaxes with live cannon fire and fireworks. That day the ground open at 2:30pm so visitors can come early and stay all day bringing family and friends. Stephanie comments that there is music happening all throughout the Tanglewood estate. On previous Tanglewood on Parade days Stephanie says she's seen all sorts of different performances, happening simultaneously, throughout and around the grounds ranging in style from chamber music to Dixieland bands, opera, brass ensembles and more. Kim Noltemy says that last year (2014) opera singer Stephanie Blythe did a sing-a-long in Ozawa Hall.

Kim Noltemy notes some upcoming performances including Joshua Bell, August 9, 2015. Yo-Yo Ma has two performances scheduled including one on August 2, 2015 and another on August 9, 2015 where he will be accompanied by Emanuel Ax, plus two recitals on June 13, 2015 in Ozawa Hall. Other exciting news for the Boston Symphony Orchestra includes the welcome of the BSO's new Music Director, 36 year old Andris Nelsons. Additionally special performances by Bernadette Peters on July 5, 2015 and Idina Menzel singing on August 29, 2105 are on the calendar.

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Kim Noltemy, Chief Marketing Officer, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Hour 3

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Click here to listen to Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive, Tourism Ireland interviewed by Stephanie Abrams without commercials.

Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive, Tourism Ireland, Dublin, Ireland.

The Ever Present Irish American Connection

Travel Expert Radio Show Host Stephanie Abrams talks with Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive for Tourism Ireland, the official tourist board for the Island of Ireland including Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Niall is based in Dublin and says "Greetings from Dublin, Greetings to the United States" to listeners and fans.

Stephanie says she would love to abduct Niall, especially if it means getting him to the Berkshires of Massachusetts during the summer so he can enjoy Tanglewood, the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Stephanie's recording studio in Pittsfield Massachusetts, at the Berkshire Crowne Plaza Hotel is only about five miles from Tanglewood in nearby Lenox.

Niall says it's an invite he can't refuse and that it's never been easier to get from Ireland to Boston. Niall mentions that there is a lot of connectivity between the US and Ireland with 11 major gateways. Stephanie says this is the time to go, or if you can't go right now, buy your Euros now because of the conversion rate. Stephanie and Niall talk about the current US to Euro conversion rate as being very advantageous for Americans compared to two years ago. Stephanie mentions the rate as being roughly 1.54 USD to 1 Euro two years ago, while today it is roughly 1.09 USD to 1 Euro.

Stephanie says life has a nasty habit of getting in the way of your plans. Niall agrees, "don't put off 'til tomorrow what you can do today". He says there's never been a better time and it's never been easier to get to Ireland and there are great things to do and see in Ireland and with the current monetary conversion rate now is the perfect time to visit.

Stephanie says that when travelers weigh the cost of staying at a make-believe castle, that is a modern creation, versus going to Ireland where if you stay in a castle, it's an actual castle dating back 400-800 years or more, they will see that the opportunity for an authentic historical stay is within reach. Stephanie mentions Glin Castle as an example of an 800 year old castle where she once stayed. Niall says the families that lived in those castles "can tell you chapter and verse the history of the castle; who lived there; the battles and conflicts it was engaged in". Niall says some of the castle experiences of staying in 800 year old castles "are amazing, and its real, and it's here and it's waiting to be discovered."

Stephanie Abrams and Niall Gibbons agree that there are many connections of people, family, heritage and culture between the United States and Ireland. In Massachusetts, for instance, four towns in the Berkshires are celebrating their 250th Anniversary this year. They were all originally incorporated under the King of England and are Becket, Richmond, Williamstown and Lanesborough, Massachusetts. Notably, Lanesborough, MA is now twinned with Lanesborough in County Longford, Ireland which are both named after the Irish family, Lanes. The twinning partly was made possible through efforts by Stephanie Abrams and her husband Mark Abrams.

Stephanie urges Niall to retell a story he was telling her earlier. He says it’s a bit of a long story, but he was recently in California, in San Francisco, to do some promotion regarding a new Aer Lingus route from San Francisco to Ireland. He met a member of the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD ), Val Kirwan, who was there to escort him into the building. Niall asked him where he was from, and it transpired that he'd been in the US for 25 years and is originally from Lanesborough, Ireland. Niall says his own uncle taught in Lanesborough for 44 years, "what a small world? And they used to know each other, and play cards together and they were great friends". Uncle, Tommy Patterson was a pillar of the community in Lanesborough, though, he's sadly passed away. Niall says he gave Val Kirwan a mention from the stage at an Irish community reception and he got a great round of applause and he's a well respected member of the community. Val told Niall that if he's ever coming back he should give him a shout and he'd make sure he was well taken care of and give him a tour around.

The week afterward, Niall was in London in a pub called the Horse and Groom in a posh area called Belgravia. He had been at a tradeshow promoting Ireland in the UK and he went up to buy a pint of Guinness at the bar. He asked the guy that served him, "you've got a west of Ireland accent, I can tell. What part are you from?" The bar tender said he's from Longford, Ireland. Niall asked him "what part of Longford" and the bar tender said "Lanesborough". Niall said, "You won't believe this. I met a guy in California from Lanesborough only ten days ago." The bar tender asks, "Was he named Val Kirwan?" Niall said, "Do you know him?" And it turns out the guy said they sat together at school.
"Isn't that amazing", asks Niall?

Stephanie thinks it’s a great story and tells one herself about meeting Sheila Moffatt of the Moffatt School of Irish Dancing. She can remember originally meeting her in Lahardane, Ireland on April 14, 2012 while leaning against the outside wall of Leonard's Pub. Stephanie says she and Sheila both were waiting to be interviewed by a local Irish radio station, Midwest FM. The day was so memorable because on that date a special ceremony was held at midnight for the 14 people from Addergoole Parish who sailed on the Titanic. The service is held in the courtyard of St. Patrick's church. The Titanic sunk on the 15th of April at 2:20 am in 1912 and that year was the 100th anniversary.

Stephanie says that on a later trip to California while talking with John Steinbach, the General Manager of the Lake Tahoe Resort Hotel, she learned that his wife is an Irish descendent, but has never been to Ireland. Stephanie convinced John that they've got to go to Ireland. Later, in December, on a winter trip to Tahoe she learned that the Steinbach's family connection is with Lahardane, Ireland. Stephanie put John and his wife together with someone in Ireland to research the Steinbach family history. It turns out that Mrs. Steinbach's grandfather left Ireland circa 1890 but returned in 1905 and bought a piece of land upon which he built a brick building. That very brick building turned out to be Leonard's pub, the very spot that Stephanie originally met Sheila Moffatt.

Niall says it’s a sad case that 14 people from Addergoole were on the Titanic and 11 of them died. He says, each year on the anniversary of the sinking at 2am they ring the bell 14 times for each of the victims. Stephanie chimes in that they actually rang the bell 3 times for each of the 14 victims when she witnessed the ceremony. Of the three who did not die in the sinking, Stephanie says, one became a nun, one settled in New York and one settled in Chicago. Recently, the great granddaughter of Annie McGowan, the Titanic survivor who moved to Chicago, was crowned the Rose at the International Rose of Tralee Festival in Tralee, Ireland.

Niall Gibbons and Stephanie Abrams change channels to talk about Ireland being featured in film and TV including current "Game of Thrones" excitement, as well as about "Braveheart", the TV show "Ballykissangel" and more. "Game of Thrones" is HBO's popular fantasy series filmed on the northern coast of Northern Ireland and along Giant's Causeway. Niall says that GOT is the biggest show that HBO has ever commissioned and it's principally filmed in Northern Ireland. Stephanie mentions Giant's Causeway inspired jewelry and says a wonderful assortment was commissioned for an artist to design pins, necklaces, rings, etc. to help remind you of your trip and that she's been wearing a new piece since her last trip. Niall mentions the Gubbins Coastal Path Walk a recent 8 million dollar reinvestment and renovation project for a cliff path about half mile long that navigates a portion of the cliff walls and even juts straight out into the ocean at a point.

Niall says there's a new connection between Tourism Ireland, Game of Thrones and HBO. He says that together they have put a few props around Ireland and do a few publicity stunts. Today they had some three-eyed ravens, from the show, around Belfast. They put dragon's eggs in St. Georges Market. He says what's great about it is that "in a normal functioning grocery market the eggs … put your hand on them and they started to vibrate making a big 'ole racket". The stunts are filmed and put on social media to coincide with each new episode.

Niall mentions Tullymore Park and County Down in relation to Game of Thrones tours for fans and that in addition to Film tourism, there are archery, cycle, castle, equestrian, boat tours, overnight mini-breaks, and private tours if you want them. He says the themed tours are proving to be a big hit and putting Northern Ireland on the map. For Niall, the "Game of Thrones" sensation is a big surprise and says the show is contemporary with a big international following. Niall recently had a meeting of international buyers and says "they were bowled over" by some of the companies doing the GOT inspired tours.

Stephanie says the Mel Gibson film, "Braveheart", was actually filmed in Ireland, not Scotland where it's based, and that visitors to Ireland can take the Braveheart trail and seek out the various locations used during filming.

Niall mentions a PBS TV show from the US called Ballykissangel. He says it's an old show and was filmed in Avoca, the same village where the Avoca Woolen Mill store is located. He says it's fun to watch the show and then walk along the streets where it was filmed and see where all the characters would walk. He says it's in County Wicklow, which is known as the "garden of Ireland", and lives up to its name and is beautiful.

Niall says a little further south in County Wexford is where the famous "Saving Private Ryan" movie scene of the storming of Normandy during WW2 was filmed. Stephanie mentions Dunluce Castle In Northern Ireland on the Antrim Coast as being used in "Pirates of the Caribbean Curse of the Black Pearl." Apparently Dunluce is used in the scenes portraying the Caribbean castle of Captain Jack Sparrow, played by Jonny Depp. Stephanie says to watch the movie "Waking Ned Devine" to get a sense of the west coast in Ireland and also to watch a recent film, "Life's a Breeze".

Niall suggests that if you travel to County Down into Belfast up by Giant's Causeway there are many things to take in, including the World Heritage Site Giant's Causeway and the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge. Stephanie advises visitors that if it’s a windy day, they'll close bridge and that even on a calm day the attraction is not for the faint hearted.

Stephanie and Niall close out this wide ranging conversation by talking about the Dunbrody Famine Ship and Irish American Hall of Fame and Visitors Center of Dunbrody. The Dunbrody Famine Ship is a recreation of the ship that brought people from Ireland to America. Stephanie tells us that if you've been to the Jamestown Settlement in Virginia it is a similar kind of reconstruction. Stephanie says that if you travel a little west to New Ross you will come to Waterford the home of Waterford Crystal.

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For more information visit www.ireland.com

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Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive, Tourism Ireland, Dublin, Ireland.

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Ireland invites you to visit the world's only Pubunlobby. What's a Pubunlobby you ask? It's when you're on your way from Bunratty Castle to Giant's Causeway when a wrong turn ends up being perfectly right because before you know it you're sitting in a Dublin pub singing O' Danny Boy with a man named, of all things, Bobby.

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