CHARLESTON, W.Va. - Lisa Lambe gave up a stage career taking on other characters to focus on playing herself.
Yet as a member of the quartet Celtic Woman, Lambe said she still gets to tell a story on stage each night.
She and her three partners - singers Susan McFadden and Mairead Carlin and violinist Mairead Nesbitt - come to the stage of the Clay Center Tuesday night for a special concert with the West Virginia Symphony.
It is Lambe's third year with the group after being recruited by musical director, arranger and composer David Downes. The two met when Lambe was working with an Irish theater group about seven years ago.
She credits Downes with helping make her transition into the group "lovely and familiar."
Even so, Lambe said the first months were particularly challenging.
"It's sort of like the rite of passage. It's an amazing experience learning the songs. Some of them you knew when you were young, but you learn them in this new way," said Lambe, a mezzo-soprano.
"There is a lightness to the sound. There is in-depth harmony and blending - it's very multi-layered."
The group is launching its holiday tour in Las Vegas and then heading east.
"It's an amazing way to finish off the year," Lambe said. "We perform with a full orchestra on stage every single night. Wherever we go, it's a real honor to perform with the orchestra in that city."
Growing up the youngest of 10 children in Dublin, Lambe said her family wasn't particularly musical, though everyone could carry a tune.
"My grandmother was a beautiful singer, and my dad has a fabulous voice," she said.
Lambe showed an interest in music and theater quite young, saying she was always ready to "burst into song or dance."