The beautiful 19th century St. Malachy’s Church in North Philadelphia will be the setting on Sunday, November 1 for the annual Mick Moloney and Friends concert to benefit the church and school founded by Irish immigrants and the Sisters of Mercy.
Limerick native Moloney, who is both a musician and historian, first started the concert more than 25 years ago when he was living in Philadelphia and working at the University of Pennsylvania. The catalyst for the concert was his friendship with then pastor, Father John McNamee, whose book, “Diary of a City Priest,” chronicled his years ministering to the poor in North Philadelphia.
Moloney has been credited with renewing interest in traditional Irish music in the Philadelphia region. McNamee turned a small Catholic parish school into a showpiece for the benefits of a Catholic education: Most of its graduates go on to higher education; even its kindergartners test out at 10 percent above grade level in reading.
St. Malachy’s School , named a “independence mission school” to prevent its merger, is open to children of all faiths from the neighborhood not far from Temple University. The Independence Mission School system operates 14 former parish schools in Philadelphia, most of them in the inner city. Since it took over, enrollment has gone up in the schools and St. Malachy’s is in the midst of a campaign to raise fund to move from its location next to the church to the former William Harrison School on W. Thompson Street, which will need to be renovated.
This year’s concert is dedicated to longtime St. Malachy’s supporter, Sister Cecile Reiley, who died this year.
Fundraising campaign aside, the concert always features some of the top traditional Irish music performers in the world and this year is no exception. Expect to hear All-Ireland fiddler Dylan Foley, piper Jerry O’sullivan, accordion player Billy McComiskey, fiddler Liz Hanley, concertina player Brenda Castle, and singer-guitarist Gerry Timlin. Mick Moloney has very talented friends.
Also this Sunday, join the Donegal Association at its annual Mass of Remembrance at the Shrine of the Miraculous Medal in Germantown. A lunch will follow at the Irish Center.
On Sunday afternoon, The Shanty’s will be performing at Pub 36 in Philadelphia.
On Friday, November 6, listen to the Paul Moore Band back in their usual spot at Brittingham’s in Lafayette Hill for First Friday.
And get your ball clothes ready! The Mayo Ball is on Saturday, November 7, at the Irish Center. The 2016 Miss Mayo will be selected.
Pick up some new jewelry or a bag that same Saturday at the Designer Bag Bingo to benefit the Cummins School of Irish Dance. The event will be held at Holy Martyr’s Parish Hall in Oreland.
Looking ahead: The Irish American Business Chamber and Network is holding a fundraiser at St. Joseph University on Thursday, November 12, for a scholarship fund in the name of the late Jim McLaughlin, a St. Joe’s grad and charter member of the Chamber. You must register for the event by November 2. Information is on our calendar.