All Posts By

Jeff Meade

Music, People

No Strings Attached: An Outpouring of Generosity for John Byrne Band Cellist Maura Dwyer

It was the first of November, the night the John Byrne Band hosted a release party for Byrne’s new CD, “A Shiver in the Sky,” at World Café Live.

Maura Dwyer, who plays both fiddle and cello for the band, had just gone offstage to the green room to warm up the violin. Before she did that, she had propped the cello up in a corner, which, she says, is usually a stable position. Suddenly, she heard the sound of guitarist Andy Keenan crying out in alarm onstage. That was followed by a resounding bang.

Long story short: Dwyer’s cello had tumbled off stage, breaking in two pieces.

John Byrne, who was also offstage, has a pretty fair idea how it happened.

“We were sound checking the drums,” Byrne explains. “I guess the vibrations from the kick drum (the bass drum) somehow did it. The cello went right off the stage. Nobody was even near it. None of us could believe it.” Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

This is absolutely one jam-packed week, starting with a weekend full of events you won’t want to miss.

Without further ado:

Friday, November 15-Sunday, November 17

Tickets are still on sale for The Straight Out of Ireland exhibit, presented by the Irish Immigration Center of Philadelphia, which kicks off tonight with a VIP reception and a preview of this stunning art show in a mansion on the campus of Sacred Heart Academy, 480 S. Bryn Mawr Avenue in Bryn Mawr.

The exhibit showcases more than 20 artists from Ireland and another dozen artists from the United States who have been influenced by the culture of Ireland. Straight Out of Ireland features a range of contemporary art, including ceramics, glass, drawings, lace, jewelry, photography, paintings fashion and more.

The event continues through the weekend, with Saturday devoted to a celebration of the art, with panel discussions featuring the artists, and the opportunity to check out the exhibit at your leisure. Sunday is Family Day, featuring activities for the kids, including a puppet show, dance exhibition and presentation by the local Gaelic Athletic Association.

We previewed the event last week, ever hopeful that many of you would get tickets. If you didn’t, there’s still time, and here’s the link. We also presented a story on Straight Out of Ireland that will give you many more details.

Saturday, November 16

Out at Villanova, you can catch the university’s annual Intercollegiate Irish Dance Festival, starting at 9:30 a.m. at the Jake Nevin Fieldhouse. The day is jam-packed with Irish dance routines presented by college and university Irish dance teams from throughout the country. We’ve been there a few times, and absolutely loved it. The event is hosted by Villanova University’s Irish Dance Team. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

There are two benefits this week, and another big one a little later on. Here’s what’s happening.

Saturday, November 9

It’s Cummins School of Irish Dance dine and donate night at Jerzee’s Sports Bar and Pizzeria, 2609 Mount Carmel Avenue in Glenside. The benefit starts at 5 p.m. Billy from Philly will provide the tunes, and there will be a visit from the newly crowned Miss Mayo 2020, Tara Regan. A portion of food sales from eat-in and take-out will benefit the Cummins School.

Friday, November 15-Sunday, November 17

The Straight Out of Ireland Exhibit, presented by the Irish Immigration Center of Philadelphia, kicks off with a private VIP reception and preview in a stunning mansion on the campus of Sacred Heart Academy 480 S. Bryn Mawr Avenue in Bryn Mawr.

The unique exhibit showcases more than 20 artists from Ireland and another dozen artists from the United States who are influenced by Ireland. This is Ireland as you have never seen it before, featuring a range of contemporary art, including ceramics, glass, drawings, lace, jewelry, photography, paintings fashion and more. Continue Reading

Music

A Look Back at the 2019 St. Malachy’s Concert

A standing room only crowd packed St. Malachy’s Church in North Philadelphia last Sunday for the annual concert by Mick Moloney and Friends concert to benefit to the exemplary church school.

That the church was so jammed should come as no surprise. This year’s concert, a memorial to longtime Moloney friend and accompanist, musical icon and dancer Eugene O’Donnell, featured an all-star cast, including Donie Carroll, Billy McComiskey, Haley Richardson, John Roberts, Jerry O’Sullivan, Niall O’Leary, Gerry Timlin, Seagda Coyle and Clare Horgan.

Moloney quipped that much of the show comes together at the last minute, sometimes without a lot in the way of rehearsal, but with such seasoned pros up on the altar stage, you’d never know it, as the group seamlessly transitioned from one set of tunes to the next.

We were there to take it all in. Check out our photo essay.

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Saturday, November 2

Strap on your dancing shoes and be prepared to show off your best bib and tucker—whatever that means—for the 114th annual Mayo Association of Philadelphia Charity Gala Ball. The ball starts at 7 p.m. at the Irish Center, 6815 Emlen Street in Mount Airy. Price of admission is $30.  Tickets can be purchased online. (An optional dinner is available from 6 to 8 p.m. at additional charge.)

The night will be jam-packed with music, starting with DJ John Shields, and moving on to one of New York’s hottest groups, the McLean Avenue Band, with an additional appearance by Emerald pipers. The evening culminates in the crowning of Miss Mayo. Tickets are still available. This one typically fills the ballroom. Continue Reading

Arts, News

It’s Art, It’s Unique and Contemporary, and it’s Straight Out of Ireland

Talk about Ireland, and most people envision green, rolling hills, pastures dotted with sheep, thatched cottages, quaint little villages, sprawling beaches and high, craggy cliffs. And make no mistake, Ireland is all of those things and more. Chances are pretty good that you’ve seen paintings, photography, crafts, knitwear, glassware and other works of art that depict all of the above.

Maybe you haven’t seen everything, even if you think you have. The folks at the Irish Immigration Center of Philadelphia believe there are more and unique ways of capturing the essence of Ireland. And they’re presenting a sweeping three-day event called “Straight Out of Ireland” that displays a wide variety of art that captures new and distinctive ways of seeing the Emerald Isle.

The works of more than 25 Irish artists, and a dozen American artists who have been influenced by Ireland will present their works in an Immigration Center benefit from November 15th through the 17th at Sacred Heart Academy (480 South Bryn Mawr Ave, in Bryn Mawr. Many types of art will be showcased, including exquisite paintings, glassware, needlework, sculpture, fabrics, and much more. You’ll also have a chance to meet the artists.

“We really wanted to showcase contemporary Ireland,” explains Emily Norton Ashinhurst, executive director of the Immigration Center, who hopes that “Straight Out of Ireland” will become the Center’s signature fund-raiser. “I think that while we all love the traditional Celtic art we’ve grown up with, I think sometimes we tend to forget that there is a great deal of work being done currently. Ireland has such a rich history, but I don’t want to forget that it has a very rich current art scene. There’s a real mix of media—and that’s one of the cool things. We have some knitwear, we have some textiles, we have jewelers, we have painters, sculptures, photography and ceramics. We have a lace artist. It’s some really cool stuff. And from the local people, we have a furniture maker, somebody who does wooden bowls, and more. It’s just a wonderful showcase of work that is coming out of Ireland and inspired by Ireland.” Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

Wow, do we have a week for you … and looking a bit beyond, even more.

Here’s what’s what.

Saturday, October 26

Celebrate Halloween with the Shantys at The Fainting Goat, 105 South MacDade Boulevard in Glenolden. Happy hour starts at 5 p.m. Wear a costume!

Sunday, October 27

It’s got pancakes! It’s got Irish music! Sweet! Take in the pancake session with Maggie’s Boots at Philly Wolf Den, Wolf and South Chadwick Street in Philly, starting at 12:30 p.m. Musicians are welcome to join in the tunes. Pancakes and other goodies will be served until about 3. Suggested donation: $10.

On a more serious note, the film, “Dan Berrigan Pray for Us” will be shown at the Irish Center, 6815 Emlen Street in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. The film documents Father Daniel Berrigan’s life around the time of the Vietnam war. It’s free, with refreshments following, with the screening starting at 2 p.m. Continue Reading

How to Be Irish in Philly

How to Be Irish in Philly This Week

A bit of a lull in the proceedings this week, but you definitely need to check out the following:

Saturday, October 19

Here’s how to have fun and support a couple of good causes. It’s the first ever Casino Night sponsored by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, to be held in a beautiful refurbished barn in Malvern.

The event starts at 6:30 p.m., featuring live music by Raymond McGroary, open bar with beer, wine and soft drinks, hors d’oeuvres and desserts, an outdoor cigar bar—and of course, a stack of chips to get you started off in a beginner-friendly game of blackjack, poker or craps.

Proceeds benefit the Duffy’s Cut Project and the Friendly Sons Immaculata Scholarship Endowment. Continue Reading