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Orlando, Florida Wedding Harpist Victoria Lynn Schultz performs 'Canon in D'

Florida Celtic Harpist Victoria Lynn Schultz performs with the Chieftains and 'Blessed'

Florida Celtic Harpist Victoria Lynn Schultz performs with the Chieftains and Celtic Crossings

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The Gainesville Sun, Daybreak
February 26, 2003

Chieftains arrive, with a new harpist

Orlando Wedding harpistWhen the Chieftains roll into Gainesville Thursday, audiences may recognize the harpist playing alongside the world’s most popular traditional Irish band.

Orlando’s Victoria Lynn Schultz – no stranger to Gainesville stages and weddings – will play harp for the Chieftains during their performance at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

For the evening anyway, she replaces original Chieftain Derek Bell, who died in October before the band embarked on its “Down the Old Plank Road” tour.

“It’s heartbreaking in a way,” said Chieftain founder and frontman Paddy Maloney. “He’s on our minds all the time. Of course, the tour is a tribute to Derek.”

For Schultz, playing the Chieftains’ Florida dates is bittersweet.

“Those are some pretty big shoes to fill,” she said.

The Floridian with the Celtic heart has been a Chieftains fan for years. To a harpist with a thirst for Irish music, Derek Bell was a hallowed figure, a mild-mannered hero who, with his merry band o’ players, conquered Western audiences and even hung our with Van Morrison.

That said, Schultz remains euphoric these days because, for the time being, she is a certified Chieftain.

“It’s like a harpist’s dream come true,” she said from Orlando last week. “I do a lot of Celtic music – that’s my thing. . . And they are probably the biggest group from Ireland. They are even up for a Grammy in country (The Grammy for Best Country Instrumental ended up going to the Dixie Chicks for “Lil’ Jack Shade”).

Schultz will be in good company. The authentic Celtic band with the pipes and tin whistle has performed with Mick Jagger, Sting, Bonnie Raitt, Elvis Costello, Roger Daltry and, among a weighty list of others, the Boston Pops.

In fact, the Chieftains are touring behind their “Down the Old Plank Road” CD, which mixes their traditional sound with Nashville’s elite, from Lyle Lovett to Alison Krauss to Earl Scruggs (whose “Sally Goodin’ track snagged the Grammy nomination). . . . .

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