Sunday, March 16, 2008

St. Patrick's Day Season 2008

For Irish musicians, St. Patrick's Day is more than the parade on Fifth Avenue and bar performances all over town. In a musical sense St. Paddy's is rather like Lent & Holy Week. I know that seems like an odd comparison, but church musicians will recognize the drill. Rehearsals start early in early February. Performances intensify the week before St. Patrick's Day, exploding all over town on March 17th and trickling on a bit afterwards.

For me, this year's performances started on March 6th at Bill Popp's 22nd Annual Benefit at Kenny's Castaways for the American Heart Association. I played in a group called Sounds of Ireland, organized by John Nevin and comprised of folks who play at the Dempsey's Pub session. We presented an hour of well known Irish tunes, closing with a rousing polka encore. Great fun!

My next performance was on March 13th. The Washington Square Harp and Shamrock Orchestra played with Mick Moloney and Friends at the Irish Heritage Concert at Saint Patrick's Cathedral. I've done this concert for several years now, but it's always a thrill to stand in front of the high altar and to see the large audience gathered in this famous Fifth Avenue cathedral.

On March 14th the Washington Square Harp and Shamrock Orchestra played again, this time at Saint Patrick's OLD Cathedral, the predecessor to the famous one on Fifth Avenue. After the Gaelic mass, we treated those in attendance to lively music at the outdoor reception in the church's front courtyard. The weather was damp and cloudy, but the crowd was warm and appreciative.

(photo by Dan Milner, used with permission)

Máirtín Ó Muilleoir, a Belfast publisher in attendance, did a lovely post about this event on his blog.

On the evening of March 17th Sorcha Dorcha will present Irish ballads and ceili tunes to diners at The Half King Restaurant. In addition to playing flute and whistle, I will be singing a couple of songs and playing some keyboard accompaniments at this gig.

Even though the official St. Patrick's Day revelry will on March 17th, the Washington Square Harp and Shamrock Orchestra has a few more performances scheduled.

After that, things will quiet down a bit. No other performances scheduled at this point. Maybe I can blog a little more often, cook instead of grabbing food on the run, and resume normal life. I'm glad for the ebb and flow that comes with St. Patrick's Day. Immersion in the music always improves my playing, but I don't think I could survive this pace much longer. Unless I quit my day job... (ah yes, fantasy lives on!)

© 2008, Linda Mason Hood
Truffles, Turtles & Tunes Copyright Statement

1 comment:

Kate S. said...

Greetings, I came across your blog because you listed the Tenement Museum's March 24 event... I thought you'd be interested to know that we're launching a new tour about the Irish-American immigrant experience in June. Among other things, the tour will feature 19th century Irish and Irish-American ballads recorded by Mick Moloney's band. I hope you will tell others who you think might be interested and will stop by this summer for a visit! Cheers, Kate, Tenement Museum Public Relations