Date:   12/16/2005

Lively duo, Switchback, performs Midwestern Christmas concert

Get into the holiday spirit by experiencing the Midwestern-Christmas performance from the critically acclaimed duo, Switchback. They are performing at 7:30p.m. on Dec. 16, at the Thrasher Opera House in Green Lake.


The performance will be a holiday special. Switchback will perform Christmas songs as well as lively reels, jigs and their own originals. Christmas favorites such as “O, Holy Night” and “Jingle Bells” will be accompanied by Irish melodies and the band’s original tunes.  Something a little extra special this evening, and hot-off-the-press, is the release of Switchback’s brand-new Christmas CD!    


The duo is known for its eclectic style. Since Switchback formed in 1993 they have released nine albums that included rock and blues classics, traditional Irish stylings, foot-stomping country and their own unique style of rock. Switchback has something for everyone without watering down its performance. The duo hits the heart of what unites Midwesterners through their Celtic soul and American roots.


Brian FitzGerald, Lansing, Ill, has been dazzling audiences on his guitar, mandolin and vocal since his college days in 1984. FitzGerald’s guitar style is built upon classical training and sessions spent developing the "Freddy Green" rhythm style with jazzmen on Chicago's Hubbard Street. FitzGerald played electric guitar for the late Clifton Chenier on a Midwest tour. Equally accomplished on the mandolin, FitzGerald studied bluegrass and jazz standards with Jethro Burns.


Martin McCormack, Woodstock, Ill, adds the bass, guitar and classically trained tenor vocals to Switchback’s energetic sound. McCormack began his Irish music career early in life. He was influenced by his grandfather from County Mayo and encouraged by his mother to learn traditional Irish songs. He and his nine siblings formed the singing group The McCormack's which performed throughout northern Illinois. In college he received awards and scholarships for his singing. Later, he and his brothers formed the Chicago rock band Beyond Blue and narrowly escaped appearing on Star Search.


The duo have performed at dozens of festivals, guest-starred on numerous radio broadcasts and appeared on the Memphis and Chicago morning shows. “Switchback has been one of the Midwest's most exciting roots duo for more than a decade”, said Dirty Linen magazine in its Feb. /March 2004 issue.


With their new album, The Fire That Burns, the duo joined with multi-instrumentalist and producer Lloyd Maines to create a genre-bending collection of original tunes. “Perhaps bluegrass that rocks seems like an oxymoron, but when Brian FitzGerald and Martin McCormack blend the two, the end product is as smooth as peanut butter and jelly”, said Jim Clark in the June 19, 2003 edition of the Lee County Courier.


Their Christmas performance at the Thrasher Opera House is sure to be riveting. “It’s difficult to sit still in their presence… it is captivating to have this songwriting backed by so much emotion”, said Donna Eckberg from FolkFire Review. The Christmas performance is sure to get the audience on its feet.


Tickets to participate in this fun-filled evening are on sale for $16 at the Thrasher Opera House, Knowledge Emporium, Green Lake State Bank (Green Lake); Pick N’ Save, Ripon Drug (Ripon); Twister (Princeton); Berlin Chamber or online at  For more information on this or any other concert, please call the office at 920-294-4279.  To find out more about the band visit


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