We’re just a week away from the 24th annual Greater Philadelphia Mid-Winter Scottish and Irish Music Festival at the Valley Forge Events Center in King of Prussia. And as usual, organizer Bill Reid has come up with about a hundred ways to have a fabulous weekend of music, dance, food, drink, and other great Celtic stuff (sword fight, anyone?) just in time for Valentine’s Day.
Many local performers and bands, including The John Byrne Band, Jamison, The Hooligans, Oliver McElhone, Timlin & Kane, Charlie Zahm and Tad Marks, Gabriel Donohue and Seamus Kennedy (back by popular demand) will be on stage, along with long-time festival favorites Albannach, the Brigadoons, Searson, the Screaming Orphans, the MacLeod Fiddlers and the Washington Memorial Pipers and Drummers. While fan favorite Brother isn’t on the bill, the group’s Angus Richardson will be there. And new this year, the Canadian Celtic rock group, the Mudmen will be rousing the rabble, starting on Friday night, February 12.
This could be the perfect time for you to learn Irish, ceili dancing, and how to tell the difference between whiskies—there are also workshops daily over the three-day event. There’s always a great array of vendors whether you’re interested in jewelry, kilts, or haggis-flavored potato chips. Continue Reading
CT’s young tenor, 25-uear-old Emmet Cahill, is returning to The Commodore Barry Club (The Irish Center) in Philadelphia on Monday, February 8, with pianist Seamus Brett for part two of his solo tour before rejoining the world’s most famous Irish boy group. He’s looking forward to it, and not just because of the warm welcome he got when he was there in May 2015.
“When I stop in a place like the Irish Center I genuinely feel at home,” says Cahill, speaking on the phone from his home in Westmeath. “A lot of the people have Irish accents and they’re sitting at the bar drinking Guinness. There’s a great community at the Commodore Barry Club. A lot of people hung around after the show at the bar and it was great craic.” Continue Reading
This past week saw more than a few Irish holiday-oriented events, and we have souvenirs from three.
On Sunday, the Divine Providence Village Rainbow Irish Step Dancers joined the Tara Gael Dancers at the Irish Center for a memorable Christmas show. The Rainbow dancers are a group of developmentally disabled women taught by local Irish step dancer Kathy Madigan. They live at the archdiocesan home in Delaware County.
They never fail to inspire, and their most recent holiday performance was no exception. Continue Reading
“Ed Reavy was an Irish-American musician, composer of numerous traditional Irish dance tunes. Born in Barnagrove, County Cavan, he emigrated to Philadelphia in 1912 where he settled in the Irish-American enclave of Corktown.”
Or you can just get out of Wikipedia altogether and listen to some of the finest traditional Irish musicians play Reavy’s music. We recommend the latter. One note is worth a thousand words.
Mick Moloney and friends, playing at the 28th annual Irish Concert at St. Malachy Church last Sunday, ripped through a bunch of Reavy tunes as their last full set. We have the video here. You’ll be listening to Mick, uilleann piper Jerry O’Sullivan, accordion player Billy McComiskey, local fiddle phenom Alexander Weir, four-time All-Ireland fiddler Dylan Foley, concertina great Brenda Castles, and fiddler Liz Hanley. Continue Reading
Every year someone says it, and every year it seems true: “This is the biggest crowd ever.”
Since virtually every pew in St. Malachy’s Church, the historically Irish church in North Philadelphia, was full, and there were people standing in the back, you can take it as read.
Also present in spirit, was Sister Cecile Anne Reiley, SSJ, a force of nature who did so much for so many years for the parish and its highly regarded school. One of her many labors of love was organizing the annual Irish concert. This year’s event was dedicated to her. Continue Reading
It started out as a police and fire band—only there weren’t really enough cops and firefighters to fill out an entire band. So membership in the Philadelphia Emerald Society Pipe Band was opened up to civilians.
From that point on, the band has moved from its humble beginnings in an American Legion hall, marching in parades throughout the Delaware Valley, to its longtime practice hall in the ballroom at the Philadelphia Irish Center/Commodore Barry Club. After that move, the band became an integral part of the Irish community, playing for everything from county banquets to the annual Joe McGarrity memorial in Holy Cross Cemetery to—of course—the Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day parade. Continue Reading
Jimmy Fallon, eat your heart out! You may have made lip syncing cool, but last Friday night the Irish Immigration Center of Philadelphia filled the ballroom of the Paxon Hollow Golf Club in Broomall with its Lip Sync Challenge. Over 300 people turned out to cheer on the ten acts who performed like the entertainers they were channeling.
And the theme of the night was FUN.
One of the most important missions of the Immigration Center is its work with the seniors in the community, including a monthly lunch at the Irish Center in Mt. Airy, so it was only fitting that two of the acts, The Jailbirds and Seniors in Sync, were composed of seniors. Proving age has no season, they brought the house down with their performances, including interpretations of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and Beyonce’s “Single Ladies.” Continue Reading
Musician Mick Moloney will be returning to St. Malachy’s Church in Philadelphia for his annual concert on Sunday, November 1. The event raises money for the operating costs of St. Malachy’s School, a mission school and “beacon of hope” in North Philadelphia that serves mainly low-income children.
But this year, something is different. Sr. Cecile Reiley, SSJ, will not be there, physically, to guide us. She passed away on April 24, 2015. She and Mick worked on this event for 28 years and, as Mick said, “Sister Cecile was one of the loveliest people I have ever known. A living Saint, really. The most gentle of souls but with a calm inner strength that was extraordinary.”
Sister Cecile, a native of Pottsville, joined the Sisters of St. Joseph as a young woman in 1957. She double majored in music and art at Chestnut Hill College and later got an MS in pastoral counseling. She was a teacher and an immigration counselor in the Diocese of Allentown and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. She was a member of the Catholic Peace Fellowship which has met at St. Malachy’s—her ministry up until her death—for more than 30 years. Continue Reading