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St. Pat’s For All Goes Virtual

March 6, 2021

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Caption with All jpg: Here on the street last year, but this year there on the screen

By Irish Echo Staff

The Queens, NY-based St. Pat’s for All parade will step off virtually on Sunday, March 7.

 “When the NYPD let us know that all parades in New York are cancelled for the coming months, we had a quick learning curve and began organizing,” parade founder and co-chair, Brendan Fay, said.

“For over twenty years, we’ve gathered on Skillman Avenue making our way through Sunnyside and Woodside,” Fay noted.

But march or not the parade will record another year and this year’s virtual gathering will be dedicated to the memory of Tarlach MacNiallais, who died from Covid-19 last April, just a few weeks after last year’s parade.

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“Tarlach was a much-loved advocate for LGBTQ rights in Belfast and New York,” said Fay.

“For thirty years he worked with AHRC, an agency for people with disabilities. Our hearts are with his spouse Juan here in Sunnyside and his family back home in Belfast.”

A film tribute by Fay and Ed Caraballo will be part of the virtual program.

“More than ever, we in the Irish diaspora are finding ways to look out for each other as we celebrate our heritage and culture,” Fay said.

“This year of COVID has been a hard time of loss, sadness and struggle for many. Months of social distancing has taken a toll. In the hardest of times the New York Irish have responded compassionately joining efforts to reach out to the food-deprived communities across the city.”

“The Sunnyside and Woodside communities have stepped up over twenty years ago to provide a welcoming home to St. Pat’s for All,” said Jaime-Faye bean, one of the parade organizers and Executive Director of the Sunnyside Shines BID.

“Over the past year, the heart of this community has once again been shown as residents and small businesses alike strive to provide a safety net for our neighbors in need. With this year’s virtual St. Pat’s for All, we urge our friends to support the restaurants, bars and pantries that have demonstrated once again the spirit of kindness and love.”

Political and diplomatic leaders sending message of support to this year’s virtual parade include New York City Council Member Danny Dromm, Irish Consul General in New York Ciaran Madden and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Political leaders sending messages of support include Council member Danny Dromm, Irish Consul General Ciaran Madden and US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Fay said he and co -chair Kathleen Walsh D’Arcy felt a responsibility to create a joyful and caring virtual program of musicians, artists in Ireland and in New York, who have been meeting, and recording on Zoom for the March 7 celebration, with the goal of filling the virtual space during St. Patrick’s season.

County Clare musician Brian Fleming, who has coordinated the musical performances of St. Pat’s for All for two decades, is producing the musical part of the program.

According to release, among the legends from the Irish music world, Mick Moloney will perform a song celebrating the “San Patricios,” the Irish soldiers who fought for Mexico in the 19th century war between the U.S. and Mexico.

Across the virtual divide, Moloney will be joined by singer Liz Hanley in Boston, accompanied on fiddle by Athena Tergis in Italy, and percussionist Brian Fleming in Clare.

Renowned musician David Amram is playing an Irish tune he says he learned in Hells Bells with his friends Malachy and Frank McCourt and Mick Moloney and shares a story about playing the Irish tin whistle onstage with Dizzy Gillespie.

Also performing are music teacher Colin Harte with students from the Bronx  High School of Language and Innovation, Irish fiddler Tony DeMarco, the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance, and Malachy McCourt.

Linking with youth from the Shannon Gaels in New York, boys and girls from Drogheda in County Louth,  filmed a message inspired by the Seamus Heaney poem, ”Cure at Troy.”

They extend St Patrick’s greetings to President Joe Biden, whose ancestors came from County Louth and to Drogheda native in New York, Irish Ambassador to the United Nations, Geraldine Byrne Nason, the release added.

“While we will miss the marching and rolling up Skillman Avenue,  St. Pat’s for All 2021 brings us together at the virtual crossroads in a joyful transatlantic celebration of welcome, remembering and solidarity,” Fay said.

“We begin each St Pat’s For All remembering the generosity and kindness of the Choctaw in 1847 during the Irish famine inspires us to get through this pandemic “le cheile” together as a human family and next year we will be back dancing on Skillman Avenue and singing our hearts out in Saints and Sinners in Woodside.”

The virtual parade steps off on Sunday March 7 at 2 p.m. New York time, 7 p.m. in Ireland. To stream the parade, visit the St. Pat’s for All website at www.stpatsforall.org

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