Enjoy an evening of traditional Irish music with a Texas twist when Tarleton State University’s Department of Fine Arts kicks off its spring lineup with Tommy and Saundra O’Sullivan.
The free concert takes place at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, in the Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Center Theater and is funded by the ULTRA Club.
One of the great contemporary folk voices of Ireland as well as a highly regarded guitarist, Tommy belongs to a group of traditional Irish musicians and recording artists who’ve come to international attention, touring throughout North America and Europe.
He appears on three albums as a member of Sliabh Notes and a duet album with Bothy Band piper Paddy Keenan as well as two solo albums. His wife, Saundra, from Houston with Native American roots, sang in several choirs and was a featured soloist.
“It is not often that we get a chance to experience live Irish folk music at its best,” says Dr. Teresa Davidian, professor of music and executive director of the Academic Advising Center. “The atmosphere during the recital will be relaxing, and I think listeners will also enjoy hearing the O’Sullivans talk about the connection between Celtic music and other forms of folk music, including American.”

Tommy and Saundra’s paths crossed when she attended an annual Irish music retreat in Midlothian in 2007. Saundra’s love of music was rekindled when she moved to Ireland. As the couple explored singing together, they discovered her alto harmonies to be a perfect match for his tenor lead vocals, adding a fertile texture to the overall sound. Saundra now is an integral addition to the vibrant local music scene in Dingle, where the two make their home.

They have been performing together for several years, appearing at Tarleton in 2016. This year they plan an extensive launch tour for their first CD together, including stops in 13 states and at the North Texas Irish Festival.

Prior to the Tarleton concert, the O’Sullivans will make presentations to two world music classes on the Stephenville campus.

Their concert kicks off a full semester of events at Tarleton’s Fine Arts Center, including musical presentations, gallery exhibitions and Theatre at Tarleton productions. Here’s a rundown:


Feb. 2, 8.m. – ULTRA Big Band Dance, featuring live music by a big band comprised of local musicians. Tickets $15.

Feb. 3, 4 p.m. – Tarleton Brass Day concert, featuring professional musicians who take part in the annual daylong workshop for high school students. Concert tickets $10; all-day passes $20.

Feb. 6, 7:30 p.m. – Guest artist recital with flautist Dr. Kristyn Son. Free admission.

Feb. 12, 7:30 p.m. – Jazz concert, featuring Ensembles I and II under the direction of Dr. Andrew Stonerock. Tickets $5 or free with Tarleton ID.

Feb. 19, 7:30 p.m. – Brass Quintet recital. Free admission.

Feb. 20, 7:30 p.m. – Guest artist recital with low brass musician Bill Haugeberg. Free admission.

March 1, 7:30 p.m. – Guest artist recital with trumpet player Craig Morris and pianist Rebecca Wilt. Free admission.

March 5, 7:30 p.m. – Choir concert, featuring Tarleton choral groups under the direction of Dr. Troy Robertson. Tickets $5 or free with Tarleton ID.

March 6, 7:30 p.m. – Invitational Band Concert, featuring Tarleton Wind Ensembles. Part of the Tarleton Invitational Band Festival kickoff. Tickets $5 or free with Tarleton ID.

March 8, 7:30 p.m. – Guest artist recital with Trio Armanti. Free admission.

March 24, 7:30 p.m. – Jazz Festival concert, featuring Tarleton Jazz Ensembles. Guest artist and admission to be announced.

April 2, 7:30 p.m. – Tarleton Honors Recital, featuring students who audition to perform. Ends with presentation of Center Stage Scholarships. Free admission.

April 16, 7:30 p.m. – Percussion concert, featuring the Tarleton Percussion Ensemble under the direction of Ben Charles. Tickets $5 or free with Tarleton ID.

April 17, 7:30 p.m. – Guitar quartet recital. Free admission.

April 21, 7:30 p.m. – Choral Masterworks Concert, featuring performances by the University Singers, the Cross Timbers Civic Chorale and members of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra. Ticket prices to be announced.

April 24, 7:30 p.m. – Wind Ensemble Finale concert. Tickets $5 or free with Tarleton ID.

April 26, 7:30 p.m. – Choir concert, featuring members of Tarleton’s choral groups under the direction of Dr. Troy Robertson. Tickets $5 or free with Tarleton ID.

April 29, 3 p.m. – Symphonic Band concert. Tickets $5 or free with Tarleton ID.

April 30, 7:30 p.m. – Jazz concert. Tickets $5 or free with a Tarleton ID.


Jan. 29 – Feb 23: Rebecca Drolen, Hairpieces.

Feb. 26 – March 23: The Third Space, a group exhibition.

March 26 – April 10: Fourth Annual Juried Student Exhibition.

April 11 – May 2: Senior Capstone Exhibitions.

Theatre at Tarleton

Feb. 21 – 24, 7:30 nightly – “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” Tickets $10 for adults; $8 for seniors, faculty, staff and children; $5 for Tarleton students.

April 10-14, 7:30 nightly – “No Exit.” Tickets $10 for adults; $8 for seniors, children, faculty and staff; and $5 for Tarleton students.