Tuesday, November 11, 2014

My Fundraising Weekend

This weekend I used my musical gifts to help people less fortunate than myself by performing at two different benefit concerts. 

On Saturday, I played for The Mercy Centre fundraising benefit at the New York Irish Center in Long Island City with Mick Moloney, Dan Gurney, Liz Hanley, Athena Tergis, Caitlin Warbelow, and Jerry O’Sullivan. The Mercey Centre is an orphanage in Bankok and many of the children there have been victims of abuse or have AIDS. Earlier this year I was talking to Donie Carroll about his trip to the center and the work they do. He later sent me video of the children he met there. I wanted to help him with his fundraising so he invited me to come perform at his benefit.

When I arrived at the Irish center, I greeted Mick and found my way to the room where the instruments were stored. Shortly after, we did a sound check. It took a while since there were many musicians performing all at once. After sound check we took a break, enjoyed appetizers and conversation, then worked out the setlist for the night.

When we arrived on stage, we started with a set of two jigs and two reels. We played for about an hour and a half to two hours. My favorite set was probably the Reavy set. It was a tribute to Ed Reavy, a great fiddle player, popular in the early to mid 20th century, who spent most of his life in Philadelphia. He was famous for his tune compositions. Each of the seven musicians, and our small groups, picked their favorite Reavy tunes before we played. To finish the set, we all played The Hunter's House. It was great fun! I enjoyed playing with Mick and all of his friends very much!

On Sunday I played at St. Malachy’s Church in Philadelphia. I was also playing this gig with Mick and the others except, instead of Dan Gurney, Billy McComiskey was on accordian. Also, my friend Paraic Keane joined us for this concert. 

We arrived at the church and were guided into the room where all of the musicians were together. It was a dining room. They had tea, coffee, and treats for us there. While attending lunch, I met the Irish Consul General, Barbara Jones. She was very nice and a joy to speak with. 

Before our sound check, we made a set list which included many of the tunes we played the night before. There were a few feedback problems during the sound check, but they were fixed and we waited for the audience to gather.

We kicked off the show with the two jigs and two reels set. Liz Hanley's wonderful singing voice sounded fantastic throughout her two songs. The next day I found myself singing bits of one of her songs called Sanctuary. Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed playing with Mick's band. I will be playing with him for a few of his Christmas shows at Symphony Space in New York City over an upcoming weekend in December. You will certainly be seeing a post about that event!

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