Band: The Gothard Sisters

Members: Greta, 23, fiddle, guitar, voice and dancing; Willow, 21, fiddle, voice, bodhran and dancing; Solana, 15, fiddle, voice and dancing

Who we talked to: Greta

Where are you calling from? I'm at home right now. We live outside of Seattle. We just finished (some shows) down in Oregon. Our next shows are actually in York.

How do you prepare before heading out on the road? We're working on some new material to perform. Whenever we get home, we try to come up with some new stuff for the next leg of the tour. We are able to go across the country, since our show is relatively small. We can fit everything on an airplane. (York) will be the farthest east we've performed. We were up in DuBois in June, so that was actually the first time we've performed in Pennsylvania.

What do you like to do when you're not on the road? My little sister (Solana) just started high school. We're all home-schooled, so she has a lot of schoolwork to do when we're not performing. My sister Willow . . . likes sewing and, actually, she makes all of our costumes for us. She's actually working on sewing some new costumes right now. We all like dancing.

I saw that you participated in the World Irish Dance Championships. We went for the world championships of Irish step dancing . . . in 2007. We've actually . . . qualified to compete there four times. In 2007, we were on a team of dancers . . . that placed second. That was in Scotland . . . and it was our second time going over there. That was probably one of the most exciting things that's ever happened (to us).

I bet it was nerve-wracking, too. It was very scary to be backstage. Actually, being onstage wasn't that scary at all. In fact, I don't remember it at all. It's really exciting to actually see the top Irish dancing - just to be there and see who is the best and what it looks like. It really motivates (us) to work harder.

How often you practice? We practice a little every day just to keep up all of our instruments, and we have to keep in shape to do the dancing. We have a little practice floor in our living room and we practice together.

What is the biggest challenge for you? For me, the performing part is the fun part. The hard part is all the traveling and all the preparation. It's awesome that I'm (touring) with my sisters. It's creating all sorts of memories that I wouldn't trade.

Since you are the oldest, were you the first one in the family to show an interest in Irish music and dance? (I got into it) way back when I was about 4-and-a-half. My parents . . . made the decision to home school me, so they wanted me to take some kind of lesson on the side so I could, you know, learn something besides doing schoolwork and also get to know some other kids. I chose (to take) violin lessons when I was 5. My sisters kind of copied me. (Laughs) Then, "Riverdance" came out . . . and my mom bought the DVD and brought it home and turned it on, and we just watched it over and over. We started taking dance lessons, but it was never really a show with the three of us together until a few years ago. We were trying to raise money to get to the world championships . . . so we started putting on shows with the dancing and the three of us playing music together. That's when our (Nashville) agent found us. We never really planned for it to be a career, but it's ended up just working out great for us.

What can people expect from your live show? They can expect some fast fiddling and (Irish step) dancing and singing. (It's) lots of fun for audiences of all ages. We have several different shows, so (people) will see a different thing if they come back and see us more than once.

Have you released CDs? We have . . . four CDs. They are independent - we're not with a record label, yet. Those will be available at the fair. I think our goal with the music is just to continue growing musically and see what we can make with it, whether that's through a major label (or providing) families (with) some music to listen to that's enjoyable and has good lyrics and good messages.

- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF

If you go

The Gothard Sisters perform free daily shows at the York Fair's First Fair Stage at the York Fairgrounds, 334 Carlisle Ave. in West Manchester Township.

See them at 1:30, 4:15 and 7:30 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Sept. 17 and 18. They play at 4:15 and 7:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Sept. 16. They perform at noon and 3:30 p.m. Sept. 19.

For details, visit www.yorkfair.com.

On the Web

For details about The Gothard Sisters, visit www.ourdollsmembers.net/celticrainbow.

Listen to the interview at www.flipsidepa.com.

Read more meet-the-artist interviews at www.flipsidepa.com/musicdirectory.