UPPER MERION - The thunder heard at Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge National Historical Park Wednesday night surprisingly meant beautiful weather and a song-filled evening.
The Irish Thunder Pipe and Drums Band, along with Doug Gefvert, the Washington Chapel carillonneur, performed 'Music of the British Isles' as part of the chapel's Frank P. Law Summer Carillon Concert Series.
The annual appearance of the pipe and drum band associated with the Ancient Order of Hibernians Notre Dame Division I in Upper Merion Township has meant large crowds in the past, and the same held true Wednesday.
Children on bikes, families on blankets, and Celtic enthusiasts of all ages crowded both sides of Route 23 for the concert, which featured songs from Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and England.
Gefvert, who studied music at Westminster College and received his master's degree in music history from Temple University, opened the concert as the sun went down with tunes like 'Londonderry Air,' 'Comin' thro' the Rye,' and 'Men of Harlech' played from within the chapel.
Throughout the concert, Gefvert was broadcast on a closed-circuit television, so the crowd could watch him as the music careened down on them from the belfry.
Food and beverages were served, and the chapel's cabin store was open to the public.
As Gefvert's set came to a close, Irish Thunder boomed from behind the chapel, and the band marched to the front. Bagpipes and drums resounded over the land where Washington's army once marched.
The Summer Carillon Series plays every Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. at the Washington Memorial Chapel off of Route 23 in the historic park.
The chapel is an operating Episcopal parish and does not receive any funding from the federal or state governments. Though the concert series is free, volunteers collected money during the concert to help support the series.