Occasionally, there is an occurrence of the kind of inspired synchronicity that causes one to say, “Ah, yes, it was meant to be.”
Wednesday evening at the restored Kelly House in East Falls was just that sort of occurrence. An enthralled audience of about 50 listened as Irish musician and folklorist Mick Moloney presented, for the first time, the Princess Grace Irish-American Sheet Music Collection. The talk was followed by the performance of several of the songs by Mick, Athena Tergis and Liz Hanley.
The Kelly House, in a partnership with the Center for Irish Studies at Villanova University and its director, Dr. Joseph Lennon, is fulfilling one of the missions set forth by Prince Albert of Monaco when he purchased the family home several years ago. With the assistance of, and collaboration between, family members Susan Kelly Von Medicus and her brother John B. Kelly III in Philadelphia, the house is taking on a new life and purpose.
“It was very important for him to have the Princess Grace Irish Library involved here, to hold events just like this where we can celebrate Irish literature, music, culture…and have some academic work done and promote new knowledge in those fields along with performances,” Von Medicus shared with the audience about her cousin Albert’s plans for the home.
Dr. Lennon expounded on that. “The sheet music was bought by Princess Grace of Monaco, and is part of the enormous collection of the Princess Grace Irish Library. So, we thought, what could we do to have a cultural event at the Kelly House, and Susan suggested the idea of the sheet music.”
There was only one person who could present that program, and Mick Moloney was on board immediately (for the background, read Jeff Meade’s interview with Mick).
“I’m intrigued by this collection,” he explained as he opened his talk. “I’m very personally connected to this collection. In terms of preserving an aspect of the culture over here, it’s priceless. It was the era of Tin Pan Alley that most of this collection comes from.”
Experiencing Mick Moloney sharing the songs, the historical background and cultural context of the Irish-American music in this collection preserved by Princess Grace, in the Kelly Home in East Falls, made for an unsurpassed evening that fulfilled exactly the objective of all those involved. Here’s to many more wonderful, collaborative events in the future.
We have a few photos and a video of Mick, Athena & Liz performing “The Kellys.”