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O'Connor Band - Appalachian Christmas set for D.C. & Baltimore / Washington Post

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Spreading good cheer? The O'Connor Band has good reason. After all, nothing boosts a new group's spirits quite like a Grammy Award nomination. Led by violin virtuoso Mark O'Connor, the family ensemble was honored last week in the bluegrass category for its recent debut album, "Coming Home." The group received the news between stops on its "An Appalachian Christmas" tour, which arrives in Annapolis and Washington next week.

The concert swing is inspired by O'Connor's 2011 CD "An Appalachian Christmas." Featuring collaborations with Renee Fleming, Jane Monheit and other artists, the album offered a mix of seasonal favorites and original tunes. The band is alternating songs from that CD with selections from this year's "Coming Home," a tapestry of string-band weaves - some contemporary, others inspired by Bill Monroe, the Osborne Brothers and Celtic antecedents.

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