Kennedy’s Kitchen to perform at the Beckwith Theatre

Published 9:13 am Tuesday, February 26, 2019

DOWAGIAC — Kennedy’s Kitchen band leader John Kennedy finds more joy in music than almost anything else.

Music is so ingrained in his life that when he wakes up in the morning, he incorporates it into his morning routine, always making sure to sing a song or play at least a few bars of music before going on with his day.

“I don’t feel right if I don’t do it,” he said. “There is tradition there.”

Though his music is very personal to him, Kennedy said he does not want to keep it to himself. Next month, he and his group are looking to share their joy of music with the Dowagiac community. South Bend-based Irish folk band, Kennedy’s Kitchen, will visit Dowagiac next month. The group will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 8 at the Beckwith Theatre, 100 New York Ave. Tickets are $25 and include beverages and appetizers.

Initially formed in 1998, Kennedy’s Kitchen is a group that plays everything from Irish folk music to pub songs to singalongs, according to its website.

“We love our music, and we love to share our music with others,” Kennedy said. “That is what has kept us doing this for 20 years.”

The music Kennedy’s Kitchen plays derives from traditional Irish music that was typically performed in small intimate locations, such as a kitchen, hence the band’s name.

“The whole Kennedy’s Kitchen thing comes from my grandmother,” Kennedy said. “She was born in 1905 [in Ireland]. … There was music in their house every night, but there was no electricity, and you couldn’t turn on the radio. Playing music meant asking someone to play the fiddle or sing a song, and that music always happened in the kitchen.”

Now, more than a century later, the goal of Kennedy’s Kitchen is to keep those traditions alive by touring the Michiana region.

“What we are doing is trying to take just a little piece of that tradition of people trying to entertain each other,” Kennedy said. “We want to keep that tradition alive. There is power in just a little song that people can sing along to.”

One of Kennedy’s favorite places to share that tradition is in Dowagiac, where the band has been visiting annually for years. Though Kennedy could not say definitively how many years his group has been performing at the Beckwith Theatre, he guesses that it has been at least a decade. He said that the folk band keeps coming back to Dowagiac because they enjoy the people and the historic Beckwith Theatre building.

“It’s just a beautiful audience,” Kennedy said. “You can see all the love and the work that goes into keeping a building and theater program like that going.”

Kennedy said he would encourage anyone to attend the performance at the Beckwith Theatre next month, saying people will have a good time even if they do not typically listen to Irish folk music.

“You will remember the show for the rest of your life,” he said. “If you stay home and watch a movie, I doubt you will remember that for the rest of your life.”

To make a reservation for the performance, call (269) 782-7653.