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Friday, September 30, 2011

Irish Musicians Association (Comhaltas) Celebrates 60 Years


"For sixty years, Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann – Irish Musicians Association – has been spreading the gospel of traditional Irish music all over the world, setting up over 400 community-based branches, including 44 in North America.

Today many consider Comhaltas to be one of Ireland’s most successful cultural groups, having trained generations of Irish to study, perform, promote and preserve traditional Irish culture. Tens of thousands of youngsters have learned to play music on traditional instruments, while over two million people attend the sessions, concerts, festivals and workshops sponsored by Comhaltas annually."  

Read the full article by Michael Quinlin in Irish America Magazine. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Madeleine Peyroux in Concert at Berklee Performance Center in Boston on Friday, October 7



Jazz and roots singer Madeleine Peyroux is returning to Boston on Friday, October 7, 2011 for a 7:30 p.m. concert at the Berklee Performance Center in the Back Bay.
 
You can purchase tickets here, or enter the MassJazz Contest to win a pair of tickets.
 
The singer/songwriter, who garnered acclaim for her rich interpretations of Billie Holiday and Edith Piaf, has a new album, Standing on the Rooftop, which includes eight original compositions and covers of songs by Robert Johnson, Bob Dylan and the Beatles.
 
Directions to Berklee Performance Center located at 136 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston.

For year round jazz concerts,  festivals,  brunches, campus events and other jazz-related activities across Massachusetts, visit MassJazz.com.

For tourist information visit MassVacation.com or BostonUSA.com.

Canadian Singer Sean McCann Performs at Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury on October 6


Séan McCann , a founding member of Great Big Sea, performing with his group, The Committed, at the Blue Ocean Music Hall in Salisbury, Massachusetts on Thursday, October 6, 2011, at 8:00 p.m.

Tickets to the show are $25 and can be purchased online

Also, the Boston Irish Tourism Association is raffling off two pairs of tickets to this special show.  If you want to enter the contest, visit the Contest Page.

McCann, a talented singer/songwriter from Newfoundland who excels on the guitar and bodhran, is joined on this tour by two veteran Canadian musicians: Kelly Russell on concertina, fiddle and tin whistle; and Craig Young on slide guitar, mandolin and background vocals.

For more upcoming concerts at the Blue Ocean Music Hall, click here.

For ongoing cultural activities in Massachusetts and the New England states, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Brief History of the Irish Social Club in Boston


by Michael Quinlin

Like the history of the Irish in Boston itself, the Irish Social Club of Boston has an illustrious story.  The Club dates back to June 27, 1945, when it was first incorporated as a non-profit group by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.  It operated out of  Hibernian Hall in Dudley Square, Roxbury, where the Club held Sunday afternoon ceili dances each week, created step dancing feisanna for children, and beginning in 1962, organized charter flights from Boston to Ireland for its members.

Founding members included Nora (O'Brien) Hart, the first president of the Irish Social Club, who died in 1946, and Mary Concannon, who was described as the 'heart and soul of the organization' until her death in 1975.

The early days of the Irish Social Club were vibrant, as returning GIs from World War II and a new generation of Irish immigrants vitalized the Boston Irish community.  This was particularly true about Dudley Street in Roxbury where the Irish congregated, as recounted in the book, See you at the Hall.

A November 1945 story in the Irish World newspaper by columnist Eva Connor reported that over 500 people attended a recent Irish Social Club dance at Hibernian Hall.  " A fine group of musicians furnished the music including Mrs. Nora McCarthy, Johnny Fitzgerald, James Concannon and Tom Senier," she wrote.

Later, when Hibernian Hall shut down in the 1960s (it was restored and reopened in 2005 as the Roxbury Center for the Arts),  the Irish Social Club shifted its events to Metropolitan Hall in Jamaica Plain, and then moved to its own club house at 79 Stanton Street in Dorchester, where it stayed until 1975.  Then between 1975-1980 the Irish Social Club met at the T. J. Roberts American Legion Post in West Roxbury, according to the Irish Social Club's literature.

On May 28, 1980, the Irish Social Club held its grand opening and formal dedication at its current home at 119 Park Street in West Roxbury.  Speakers at the ceremony included Damien Boyle, vice-consulate of Ireland, Andrew J. Sheehan, president of the Irish Social Club, and Reverend James Harrold, S.M.A., Club Chaplain.

The program booklet at the dedication stated, "That this beautiful building was built without a mortgage, clearly indicates the magnitude and viability of the organization."

At the height of its popularity, the club boasted 15,000 members, some from as far away as Florida and California.  But in recent years, due to aging membership, competition from other Irish venues, and the gradual assimilation of the Irish into American society, the club dwindled and was nearly dissolved in April 2011.

But now a new effort is underway to revive the Irish Social Club and restore it to its past standing as a popular gathering place for people interested in enjoying their Irish culture and heritage. You can follow the progress on the Irish Social Club Facebook.

***
For more about Boston's Irish history, visit IrishHeritageTrail.com. For ongoing information on Irish activities in greater Boston, visit IrishBoston.org.

Excerpts from Irish Boston: A Lively Look at Boston's Colorful Irish History, published by Globe Pequot Press.

(Author's Note: I am grateful to Jack Concannon of Braintree for sharing information on his mother, Mary Concannon and her work on behalf of the Irish Social Club.)












Live Irish Music at Boston's Black Rose Pub on Saturday, September 24


The Black Rose Pub in Boston has live Irish music this afternoon and evening  - Saturday, September 24, 2011.

The action kicks off at 4:00 p.m. with Dublin singer Tom O'Carroll performing downstairs.  Then at 9:30 p.m the Celtic Clan perform downstairs while the McTaggerts play in the upstairs room.

Now celebrating its 35th year, the Black Rose Pub has live Irish music seven days a week.The Rose opened at 160 State Street in Boston in 1976, when Richard Ford was US President and a few months before Faneuil Hall first opened.  Since then it has gained a world-wide following, and offers live Irish music seven nights a week, a great menu and drinks selection, and a special ambiance that keeps people coming back. For a schedule of upcoming entertainment click here.

Today the Black Rose Pub is owned by Glynn Hospitality Group, a family-run business with roots in County Galway, which has eight dining and entertainment locations in Boston. 

You can follow Black Rose Pub on Facebook, or visit the BlackRose web site.

For details on Irish activities in greater Boston and Massachusetts year round, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.  For more on Boston's Irish Heritage visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Joe Derrane at Boston College on Thursday, September 22


Boston accordion master Joe Derrane  is the subject of a lecture by Earl Hitchner this evening at Gasson Hall, Boston College campus, on Thursday, September 22, 2011 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Afterwards, Derrane will play some tunes with mandolinist John McGann, professor of strings at Berklee College of Music, and Seamus Connolly, All-Ireland fiddle player and head of the Gaelic Roots Irish Music program at Boston College.

The event is free and open to the public.

For more details on Boston College's Gaelic Roots fall schedule, click here.

For year round information on Irish music, dancing, theatre, literary events, as well as Irish gift shops, pubs, cultural centers and more, visit IrishBoston.org.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Irish Singer Paul Brady Performs at Blackstone River Theatre on Thursday, September 22


Legendary Irish singer and songwriter Paul Brady is performing at the Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland, RI, on Thursday, September 22, 2011, at 8:00 p.m.

Tickets to the show are $25 in advance and $30 the day of the show. To reserve tickets call 401 725-9272.

Brady, from Strabane, County Tyrone in Northern Ireland, has been a seminal figure in Irish music since the 1960s, melding Irish traditional music with folk, rock and jazz while maintaining a distinctly Irish sound.  His songs have been recorded by various artists including Bonnie Raitt, Tina Turner, and Carlos Santana.

For a full schedule of great musical events this season at Blackstone River Theatre, click here.

For year round information on Irish music, dance, theater, culture and special events, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Irish Tenor Ronan Tynan Performing at the Rogers Center on Saturday, October 1


Famed Irish tenor Ronan Tynan is performing at the Rogers Center at Merrimack College in North Andover on Satuday, October 1, 2011 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets to the concert are $35 ($32 for seniors) and can be reserved online.

Also, the Boston Irish Tourism Association is raffling off three pairs of tickets to lucky contestants who enter the contest.   The winners will be announced on the site on Thursday, September 29.

Tynan is an inspirational figure and rare talent who has gained a loyal following of music lovers that crosses generations and musical genres. He has performed before presidents and prime ministers, and in opera houses and ballparks, including Fenway Park and  Yankee Stadium.

The Rogers Center for the Arts is a magnificent, 600 seat concert venue with wonderful acoustics and a welcoming ambiance.  For a complete schedule of upcoming events, click here.

For year round information on Irish cultural activities in Massachusetts and the New England region, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

For information about visiting Massachusetts, go to MassVacation.com

Saturday, September 17, 2011

130 Pipe Bands Perform This Weekend at New Hampshire Highland Games on Loon Mountain


One hundred and thirty bagpipe bands from across Canada and the United States are convening at the 36th annual New Hampshire Highland Games at Loon Mountain this weekend, September 16-18, 2011.

Many of the bands and individual pipers are competing in competitions taking place on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. and 1:30 p.m on Sunday, with the Pipe Band awards and closing ceremonies taking place on Sunday at 4:00 p.m.

For a complete schedule of this year's Highland Games, click here.

For tourist information, including hotels, restaurants, and sightseeing opportunities, visit New Hampshire Travel & Tourism

For year round details on Irish and Celtic activities in Massachusetts and the New England region, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.


Shane Dunn Performs at Four Green Fields in Boston on Saturday, September 17


Singer Shane Dunn is performing at the Four Green Fields Pub in Boston on Saturday, September 17, 2011, at 8:00 p.m., as part of the pub's Halfway to St. Patrick's Day celebrations.

Four Green Fields opened in Boston in February 2011 and is located at One Boston Place, at the corner of School and State Street.  It's near Boston City Hall and the Massachusetts State House, and a block from the Irish Famine Memorial on Boston's Irish Heritage Trail.

You can follow Four Green Fields on Facebook.

For year round information on Irish festivals, parades, concerts, sessions, pubs, gift shops and heritage sites, visit IrishBoston.org.

For tourist information, visit BostonUSA.com.

Monday, September 12, 2011

New Hampshire Highland Games Taking Place at Loon Mountain on September 16-18


The 36th annual New Hampshire Highland Games is taking place this weekend, on September 16-18, 2011 at Loon Mountain. The three-day event features a rich assortment of Scottish music, dancing, athletic competitions, and other cultural activities for people of all ages. 

For a schedule of music and dance performances click here.

You can get full details on visiting New Hampshire, including hotel information, local restaurants, and other fun things to do, by visiting New Hampshire Travel & Tourism, or by calling (603) 271-2665.

Black Rose Pub Celebration Features Joshua Tree on September 17 in Boston

Joshua Tree
The Black Rose Pub, Boston's most famous Irish pub,  is celebrating halfway to St. Patrick's Day n Saturday, September 17, 2011, featuring Joshua Tree, the premier tribute band to U2, who perform starting at 9:30 p.m.

The event is part of the world-famous Black Rose 35th anniversary celebrations taking place in 2011. The Rose opened at 160 State Street in Boston in 1976, when Richard Ford was US President and a few months before Faneuil Hall first opened.  Since then it has gained a world-wide following, and offers live Irish music seven nights a week, a great menu and drinks selection, and a special ambiance that keeps people coming back.

Today the Black Rose Pub is owned by Glynn Hospitality Group, a family-run business with roots in County Galway, which has eight dining and entertainment locations in Boston. 

You can follow Black Rose Pub on Facebook, or visit the BlackRose web site.

For a full schedule of Irish activities in greater Boston and throughout Massachusetts year round, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.  For more on Boston's Irish Heritage visit IrishHeritageTrail.com.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Mediaeval Baebes Performing at Blackstone River Theatre on September 10



The Mediaeval Baebes, one of Britain's most popular singing ensembles, is performing at the Blackstone River Theatre in Cumberland, RI on Saturday, September 10, 2011 at 8:00 p.m.

Tickets to the show are $28 in advance and $32 the day of the show.  To make reservations, call 401 752 9271.

Formed in 1990, Mediaeval Baebes has revived a rich opus of medieval music from across Europe, as well as poetry set to music and original compositions.  The musicians capture the medieval sound using vintage instruments like the auto-harp, hurdy gurdy, and recorder alongside the guitar, violin and piano.

This show opens the 11th season of the Blackstone River Theatre, one of New England's most innovative cultural programming venues.  For a full list of concerts taking place, visit Blackstone River Theatre.

For music and cultural activities throughout the year in Massachusetts and the New England states, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.




Tuesday, September 6, 2011

New Exhibit on Jacqueline Kennedy: The White House Years, Opens at JFK Library on Wednesday, September 14


The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum is opening a new exhibit on Wednesday, September 14, 2011, entitled In Her Voice: Jacqueline Kennedy The White House Years

The exhibit is based on an oral history series of conversations in 1964 between Mrs. Kennedy and historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., in which she speaks about her years at the White House and about President Kennedy.

Caroline Kennedy, president of the JFK Library Foundation, is releasing the interviews in a new book, Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy, schedule for publication on September 14, 2011.  To read an interview with Caroline Kennedy in Parade Magazine, click here.

For details on upcoming events at the JFK Library, click here.

For year round information on Irish culture, heritage, and history in the Boston area, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Huntington Theatre Company in Boston Presents Candide, September 10 - October 16


The Huntington Theatre Company, celebrating its 30th season,  is presenting Candide by Voltaire from September 10 through October 16 2011. 

Featuring Leonard Bernstein's soaring score and lyrics from some of the wittiest writers of all time, this acclaimed new production directed by the Tony Award-winning Mary Zimmerman (Metamorphoses) enchants with some of the most memorable music ever written for Broadway.

For ticket and seating information, click here.

Check out the full schedule of Huntington Theater Company's 2011-2012 season.

For more cultural activities in Massachusetts throughout the year, visit IrishMassachusetts.com.

For tourist information visit MassVacation.com and BostonUSA.com.