Category Archives: Hall of Fame

John “Jack” Conroy, R.I.P.

Jack  Conroy R.I.P.

Jack Conroy, traditional Irish musician

A long term  member of our Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann community and Comhaltas Hall of Fame inductee (2004), Jack Conroy,  talented musician,  gifted teacher and  active member and supporter of our organization,  died in Milton on  November 9th, 2019. Playing since the ’50’s, he has left a footprint in the Irish community locally and abroad.   We celebrate him.  We mourn him.  And we offer our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Gail, his family, and friends.

Active Comhaltas Participant

The Reynolds-Hanafin-Cooley Branch has lost a friend and a true champion of traditional Irish music.  Jack played regularly at the Irish Cultural Centre in Canton, participated in many Gaelic Roots events at Boston College and helped with our Music School in an administrative role until ill health prevented him from doing so.

Jack was an accomplished accordion player as well. Here we share a video of himself on box with Brendan Tonra on fiddle, and Helen Kisiel on keyboard playing two jigs, “Farewell to Kennedy” and “Willie’s Fiddle.” They explain that “Farewell to Kennedy” was written after the assassination of JFK and “Willie’s Fiddle” was a tune about Brendan’s father’s fiddle, which kept breaking and had to be fixed.

Hall of Fame Inductee in 2004

Jack Conroy  was honored for his contribution to Irish traditional music as a melodeon player.  Our former webmaster and active Comhaltas participant , Larry Tormey, wrote this article about him on his induction into our Comhaltas Hall of Fame.

Tributes From The Community

Jack Conroy was a versatile musician and a friend, mentor and teacher to many in the Greater Boston area. We will miss him.

Some have described Jack as “a treasure,” “a great teacher,” “inspiring,” “one of my favorite players,” “a wonderful player on the Irish-American D/C# box.” A fellow musician commented, “His father played the G melodeon and ran a well-known watering hole.  Jack learned his music from a number of musicians including Jerry O’Brien (who also taught Joe Derrane) and Jack Diamond.”  It is very likely that the accordion in this video is a Walters bought new in 1949, with help from Jack’s father and Jack Diamond.

There will be many tributes by those who mourn his passing. Kieran Jordan, on learnng of Jack’s death, shared the following sentiments on Facebook.

“Thinking of our friend Jack Conroy. These were sweet times and I cherish the memories. Céilís at Boston College, with Jack Conroy on the far left, Helen R Kisiel, Brendan Tonra, Michael Tubridy, Jimmy Noonan, Daniel Accardi, Seamus Connolly, and Shane Cornyn. I know that Sean Smith and Beth Sweeney were there too!”

“Jack was one of the first musicians I met when I came to Boston College as a student, and he always encouraged my old-style step dancing. Our conversations over the years were mostly about music, or his other passions — trips to Ireland, and cooking. In my darkest days with Lyme, Jack said he would pray for me, to have more courage. ‘With a positive attitude,’ he said, ‘we can adapt to anything’.  He was dealing with ALS when he said that. I think of this often. Thank you Jack, and may you rest in peace.”

Obituary and Funeral Arrangements

Jack’s wake will be held at Murphy  Furneral Home in Dorchester on Thursday, November 14thth from 4-7 P.M.  His funeral Mass will be at St. Margaret’s Church of St Teresa of Calcutta in Dorchester on Friday, November 15th, at 10 A.M.  Burial will be at the Cedar Grove Cemetery in Dorchester. His obituary follows:
http://jmurphyfh.tributes.com/obituary/read/John-F.-Jack-Conroy-107757861

Prepared by Maureen Conway, Secretary, and Eileen McClelland, Webmaster, November 13, 2019.

Jim Flynn, R.I.P.

Jim Flynn, R.I.P.

Jim Flynn RIP 2018This week we lost a long-standing member of our Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann community, Comhaltas Hall of Fame inductee (2007), Jim Flynn, a talented player of the  harmonica and Irish button accordion and an active member and supporter  of our organization.

Maureen Woods, in her email from the Danvers Set Dancers, put it beautifully in her notice, which I include below.  Maureen is an active set  dancer and assists Jim’s daughter, set dance teacher Eileen Dugal, with communications for her Thursday night classes in Danvers. Our hearts go out to Eileen and Jim’s family.

We Will Miss Him

“Sadly, I must let you know that the Irish music community has lost another great man. Jim Flynn passed away on April 12th. He was 98. An inductee into the Comhaltas Hall of Fame, he was still entertaining us with tune after tune on his harmonica up until a year ago. He was a true gentleman with a sharp mind and an amazing memory. That he reached just shy of 99 years is due entirely to the constant, loving and unwavering care of his daughter, Eileen Dugal. They shared a love of Irish music, dance and heritage and you could always catch the pride in Mr. Flynn’s eyes when he gazed upon her. I will miss him, his firm hand shake and his stories from long ago. I know we all will.”

Hall of Fame Inductee in 2007

Jim Flynn was honored for his contribution to Irish traditional music for accordion and harmonica. Read an earlier article by Larry Tormey on his induction into our Comhaltas Hall of Fame.

Funeral Arrangements

His wake will be held at the Stanton Funeral Home in Watertown on Thursday, April 19th, from 4-8 P.M. His funeral mass will be at St. Joseph’s in Belmont on Friday, April 20th, at 9:00 A.M. Burial will be at the National Cemetery in Bourne at 1:45 P.M. Contributions in lieu of flowers in his memory may be sent to Boston Comhaltas Music School.”

Memorial Contributions

We thank the family for naming our Boston Comhaltas Music School as an organization for contributions in Mr. Flynn’s memory.

Contributions in lieu of flowers  in Jim’s memory may be sent to Boston Comhaltas Music School c/o Michael Hickey, Treasurer, 100 Woodpecker Rd., Stoughton, MA 02072.

Here is his obituary. http://www.stantonfuneralhome.com/obituary/james-flynn

 

Boston Hosts Hall of Fame in November


The 2017 Northeast Region Meeting will be hosted this year by Boston’s Reynolds-Hanafin-Cooley Branch on Saturday, November 4th, at the Irish Cultural Centre of New England in Canton, it was announced recently by our  Northeast Region organization.

There will be a Seisuin Friday Evening. This is the Centre’s regular Friday evening seisuin and any musician is welcome to join in.

Saturday events include a meeting from 10:00 a.m. till 3:00 p.m. where lunch will be served.

The induction ceremonies for the Northeast Regional Hall of Fame are scheduled from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. (NB: updated reflects a change of starting time from 7 to 6:30) followed by dancing at a Ceili from 8:00 to 11:00 p.m., with our Boston branch band led by Chairperson and acclaimed accordionist, Tara Lynch. The Reynolds-Hanafin-Cooley branch will honor leaders who have made a significant contribution to our branch by recognizing them at the Northeast Regional  Hall of Fame. 

For accomodations, there are several hotels in the area with the most convenient being Homewood Suites by Hilton, 50 Royall St. Canton, Exit 2 off Rt. 93, Phone: 781-828-4700 and  Courtyard by Marriott, 200 Technology Dr. Stoughton, Exit 20A off Rt. 24, Phone: 781-297-7000

Food and beverages will be available at the Centre.

Update (Oct. 16, 2017): See related post about the Saturday night ceili at the ICC – also note updated time for the Hall of Fame ceremonies. 

Joe Derrane (R.I.P.)

Joe Derrane, RIP

The Reynolds-Hanafin-Cooley Branch of Comhaltas wishes to extend its sincerest condolences to the family of Joe Derrane (Hall of Fame 1998) on his recent passing.  He was truly one of the legends of traditional Irish music in America and throughout the world.

Joe Derrane East Durham 2005 (image sourced from Wikipedia)
Joe Derrane, Irish-American button accordionist (image sourced from Wikipedia)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Early Years

Born and raised in Boston and while still a teenager Joe was playing his 2-row D/C# accordion in the various Irish dance halls at Dudley Street in Roxbury.  He became widely recognized for his highly ornamental and spirited playing.

Return to Music Scene

After a long hiatus and on the persistent urging of the well-known Celtic music critic Earle Hitchner, Joe began his return to traditional music culminating in his appearance at the 1994 Irish Folk Festival at Wolf Trap in Virginia.  His performance was met with such great acclaim that Joe began his now famous second career.

Recognition

He toured throughout Europe, played with The Chieftains at Symphony Hall in Boston, appeared many times on radio and television, and received a Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.  In 1998 Joe was inducted into the Comhaltas Hall of Fame in recognition of his outstanding contributions to traditional Irish music.

Funeral Arrangements

Joe died on July 22nd 2016 at Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, MA.  His funeral will be from the Hurley Funeral Home, 134 So. Main St. (Rt. 28), Randolph on Friday, July 29th at 9:15am followed by a funeral mass at St. Mary’s Church in Randolph at 10am. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend. Visiting hours Thursday, July 28th from 4-8pm. Interment St. Mary’s Cemetery, Randolph. In lieu of flowers donations can be sent to Homes for Our Troops, 6 Main St., Taunton, MA 02780.

[Barbara Davis]