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Newport Beach to honor Van Morrison

November is a time for turkey dinners with the family and honoring America's veterans. But, lesser known, it is also a time to recognize the creation of Mickey Mouse and the reading of Lincoln's Gettysburg Address. Now, for Newport Beach residents, it's a time to honor the Belfast Cowboy, rocker Van Morrison.

Newport Beach Mayor Keith Curry will officially proclaim Nov. 21 as "Van Morrison Day" in honor of the multi-instrument musician who celebrated his 65th birthday in August.

"Van Morrison has been a music legend, multi-Grammy winner and Hall of Fame performer since the 1960s," Curry said. "His music helped define our times."

Getting "Van Morrison Day" recognized in Newport was an effort led by Richard Kaplan, of Muldoon's Irish Pub, and supported by Curry.

While the body of Morrison's work is clearly significant to his fans — having received six Grammy Awards and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Songwriters Hall of Fame — the life of the music legend can serve as a role model to everyone, said Kaplan, the pub's director of special events.

The day will have a free concert performed by Morrison's daughter, Shana, at Muldoon's. Shana is a frequent performer at the bar.

"After a decade of her coming out to play exclusively [at Muldoon's], we feel almost a part of the Van Morrison family," Kaplan said.

The concert will be an interpretive mix of Van Morrison classics and original work by Shana and her band, Kaplan said.

The concert will be held in the pub's courtyard and is open to all ages. Muldoon's is located at 202 Newport Center Drive, near Fashion Island.

Aside from Shana's performances in Newport, Van Morrison has no clear ties to the city of Newport Beach.

The Belfast Cowboy — who was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland — was no stranger to adversity and pushed himself up through the struggles of the entertainment industry to become a self-made man, Kaplan said.

"I think that what's to be learned is to follow your muse," Kaplan said. "He shows us that you can't let anything stop you and he did it in such a bold and impressive way … so much of his music has become the anthems for people."

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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