Category Archives: News

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

 

Anne McConnell-Strong Passing

A CHAMPION of traditional music has died following a fall just moments after she accepted an award for her contribution to Irish culture.

Prior to her retirement this year Anne had arranged one last tour, Echoes of Erin 2016, which ran for 10 nights over the last fortnight at the Gerry Gallagher Hall in Toronto. On the final night of the tour last Sunday, October 2, Mrs. McConnell-Strong was invited on stage at the end of the show to accept an award in appreciation for 37 years of hard work which she accepted, beaming. On her way off of the stage, she fell. Tragically, she succumbed to her injuries.

Obituary

anne-mcconnell-strong

McCONNELL-STRONG, Annie – The family of Anne McConnell-Strong is devastated to announce her tragic passing on Monday, October 3rd, 2016.

A beloved wife, sister, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Anne was a loving light to her family, friends, and community, and a source of infinite grace and comfort.

Born in Co. Galway, Ireland, Anne trained as a nurse in England, and eventually settled in Canada in the 1960s. She quickly became a treasured part of the Irish community in North America, and owned two Irish pubs, Finnegan’s and Muldoon’s, as part of the Frontenac Hotel.

In 1978, Anne founded the local chapter of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, was elected chairperson of the Eastern Comhaltas Regional Board in 1988, and spent nearly four decades ceaselessly promoting the development and preservation of Irish traditional music, dance and culture in Canada and the United States.

Anne is survived by her beloved husband Elmer, with whom she recently travelled the world, and with whom she shared a beautiful home in Glenburnie, Ontario, Canada. She is survived by her children, Ita (Pat), Dympna and Fintan (Katie), her grandchildren Madison, Wyatt, Austin, Shane, Liam, Fiona, Emer and Anais, and her great-grandchildren Bruce, Willamina, Sallyanne, Maeve, and Emrick.

Sister of Kate Lawton (Joe) of Kingston, Mary Finn (the late Sean) and Sally Burke (the late Brendan) of Ireland, and the late Teresa Kearney. She will be missed by her numerous nieces and nephews, and Elmer’s children Maureen, David (Linda), Larissa and Sonya, and her son Jack.

The family will receive friends at the Robert J. Reid and Sons Funeral home, Kingston on Thursday, October 6th between the hours of 4 pm -7 pm.

Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at St. Joseph’s Church on Friday, October 7th at 10:30 am. Rite of committal with prayers to follow at St. Mary’s cemetery.

Anne was a gift to this world, and was loved and respected by all who had the pleasure of knowing her. She will be dearly missed, but her light will continue to shine in the lives of all of those she blessed with her presence.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Martha’s Table.

 

Michael Connolly R.I.P.

The Reynolds Hanafin-Cooley Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann is saddened at the passing of longtime member Michael J. Connolly.

MICHAEL J. CONNOLLY’s Obituary in the Boston Globe follows:

MICHAEL J. CONNOLLY
CONNOLLY, Michael J. of Northport, Florida, formerly of Osterville and Watertown, died on September 1, 2016 at The Joy of Living II in Northport, Florida after a long battle with Alzheimer’s Disease. Born in Ireland, County Galway in 1938. He came to America in 1962, where he worked at BF Goodrich in Watertown where he had an industrial accident in November of 1966. In 1970 he went to work at John Hancock in Boston where he worked for 30 years as a computer operator until his retirement in August 2000.

Mike formed a band in the 1980’s called Mike Connolly’s CelticAires. He played at many weddings and parties for 3 decades and recorded 2 albums. Mike was inducted into the Irish Music Hall of Fame in 2002.

Devoted Husband of Trudy (Murphy) of 50 years. Beloved Father of Trish McHugh and her husband John, the late Michael Connolly and Maureen Connolly. Cherished Daideo of his granddaugher Grace McHugh. Beloved Son of the late Hannah (Heaphy) and John Connolly, brother to Julia Higgins, Paul Connolly and his wife Rose, cousin Bernadette Conneely, and the late Mary O’Toole, Ann McCann, John Connolly, Peter Connolly. Also survived by 18 nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a Funeral Mass on Monday, September 19, 2016 at 11:00 am at St. Jerome’s Parish, 632 Bridge Street, North Weymouth, MA. 02191. Burial will be private. Donations in Mike’s memory may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association .

Read a little more about Mike’s music from this 2013 Facebook post about O’Shea’s Old Inn Sunday night session.

And this page shows a couple of photos of Mike playing with other Irish musicians in Florida.

 

Daniel Hourihan R.I.P.

The Reynolds Hanafin-Cooley Branch of Comhaltas CeoltóirÍ Éireann is saddened at the the passing of Daniel Hourihan, husband of  long time member, Jeanne Hourihan. 

In Memory of Daniel F. Hourihan 

(January 17, 1943 – August 7, 2016)

Daniel F. Hourihan, of Walpole, formerly of Charlestown, passed away peacefully on August 7, 2016.

Born in Boston, he was a U.S. Army veteran serving during the Vietnam Era. Mr. Hourihan retired from the U.S. Postal Service following 32 years of service and also worked as a Court Officer for the Social Security Administration Law Judge.

Beloved husband of Jeanne (Kelly) Hourihan; loving father of Daniel V. Hourihan and his wife Diana of Walpole, Maryanne Hourihan of Tampa, FL, Nancy J. Griffin and her husband John of Norfolk and Kelly J. Gjervold and her husband Colin of Tampa, FL; cherished grandfather of Patrick Daniel, Catherine Maria, Aidan Robert, Jake Daniel, Matthew Michael, Grace Kelly, Mariah Aine and the late Mia Jeanne; devoted brother of Marie Bimmler of Assonet and the late William Hourihan, John Hourihan and Helen Whalen. He is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews.

Funeral Mass

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, August 11th at 10:00am in St. Timothy’s Church, 650 Nichols Street, Norwood. Interment will follow the Mass in St. Francis Cemetery, Walpole. Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday, August 10th from 5:00-7:00pm in the church.

Donations

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Monastery of St Clare. 920 Centre St, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

Gillooly Funeral Home
Norwood (781)-762-0174

Obituary Published in The Boston Globe on Aug. 9, 2016

Annie Mullen RIP Long Time Branch Member

Annie Mullen, R.I.P.

We are saddened at the passing of Annie Mullen, long time member of the Reynolds-Hanafin-Cooley Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann. We extend our deepest condolences to family and friends.

Annie Mullen RIP July 28 2016
Annie Mullen,long time member of the Reynolds-Hanafin-Cooley Branch of CCE

Annie’s husband Coleman (Coley) holds the position of Treori na Gaeilge for our branch (Irish Officer).

Funeral Arrangements

Friends and relatives are invited to visiting hours Monday 3-8 PM in the Murphy Funeral Home, 1020 Dorchester Avenue.  Dorchester (directions). A funeral Mass will be in St. Mark Church, Tuesday, August 2, at 12 noon.

Obituary

MULLEN Annie M. (McDonagh). In Braintree, formerly of Dorchester and Co. Galway, Ireland, July 28, 2016. Beloved wife of Coleman. Loving mother of Angela and her husband Kieran Kelly of Braintree, Aine and her husband Martin McDonagh of Quincy, and Caroline Mullen of Braintree. Sister of Maureen Mulkerrin of England, Colimin McDonagh of Braintree, Dudley McDonagh of Dorchester, Teresa Delaney of Ireland, and the late Paraic McDonagh. Devoted grandmother of Ciara, Claire, Annie, Nora, and Michael Kelly, Roisin and Fiona McDonagh. Survived by many nieces and nephews.

James A. Murphy & Son Funeral Home
1020 Dorchester Ave
Dorchester, MA 02125
617-265-9840

Obituary and tributes: http://jmurphyfh.tributes.com/obituary/show/Annie-M.-McDonagh-Mullen-103804268

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]

Ceili Update and Newsletter Correction

Sunday February 24 Ceili Cancelled

The Seisiun / Ceili scheduled for tomorrow, Sunday, Jan. 24th, is cancelled due to inclement weather. The next one is Sunday, Feb. 7th, 2-6 p.m. (Note time change). If the NE Patriots are in the Super Bowl this one will be cancelled. Kindly spread the word.

Newsletter Correction

Barbara Davis announced Jan / Feb newsletter corrections . . .

Online access to Boston Comhaltas Music School is through the Branch Website:  www.cceboston.org (this website)  on the Music School page.

Contact phone number is (617) 696-0442.

Barbara Davis

Snow Levels Cancel Ceili Session

Due to snow levels and parking challenges at the Canadian-American Club in Watertown, the Sunday, February 22nd, seisiun/ceili is cancelled.

Musicians-in-the-Snow-1876-Unidentified-artist-MFA-Boston
“Musicians in the Snow” 1876 Unidentified artist, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; source: http://www.artclon.com/museum/museum-of-fine-arts,boston/8052_39.html

The following week Sunday, March 1st, is also in jeopardy but a decision will be made on that date next week.