Ancient Order of Hibernians National President Danny O’Connell (right) with his predecessor, Judge James McKay
By Irish Echo Staff
A special award is to be presented at the upcoming Irish Echo Arts & Culture Awards to an individual or organization for shoring up community spirits during the pandemic by way Irish arts and cultural performances.
Sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the award will be presented at the Irish Echo Arts & Culture celebration on Friday, April 23 (starting 6 p.m. Eastern) by AOH National President Danny O’Connell.
“We believe in building community and are proud of the endeavors of our members in these testing times,” O’Connell said,
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“But we have been bowled over by the work of our artists and performers and this special accolade is testament to their heroism during the pandemic.”
The six shortlisted from the grand total of 41 honorees reflect the national scope of the awards and national presence of the Hibernians.
They are: Maureen Kennedy, founder, Irish American Heritage Center, Cincinnati, Ohio. A remarkable Irish institution occupying an entire city block and boasting a wide range of activities, all of which pivoted swiftly online when the pandemic struck.
Christopher Cooke, Piper, AOH Volunteer and stalwart community uplifter in Wake County, North Carolina.
Sober St. Patrick’s Day’s Tami Ellen McLaughlin and Bill Reilly. The event which has won plaudits for celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in a manner which is true to Irish values and counters the perception of a link between excessive drinking and St Patrick’s Day.
Aisling Irish Center Céilí Band & Ballad Group, New York. The band has inspired the Irish community in the Bronx, Yonkers and beyond in this challenging time.
Elizabeth Stack, Irish American Heritage Museum, Albany, New York. The museum has recently moved into expansive new premises.
Diane Byrnes, presenter, Echoes of Erin Radio Show, Pittsburgh, PA. diane has been presenting her Sunday radio show for three decades.
Meanwhile, voting is continuing online to identify the overall Arts hero of the pandemic. Readers can buy a ticket, price $9, to join the celebration at www.irishecho.com.