A rapt audience enjoying the concert at St. Barnabas.

St. Barnabas Concert Delivers Christmas Cheer

This time last year we were in the throes of the Covid pandemic with clampdowns, cancellations and closures almost forcing us into a hermitical existence.

However, in those desponding and dispiriting times, we did get a brief burst of exhilaration when we watched the Aisling Center Ceili Band and Ballad group perform virtually on Ireland’s most watched television show, namely the legendary Late Late Christmas Toy Show.

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Well this year, as we are finally emerging from the Covid constrictions, we got the real thing, a live concert from the Dawn Doherty School of Irish Music and Singing in St. Barnabas, Woodlawn in the Bronx.

Many years ago, John Healy, a Mayo native wrote an epic book titled the “Death of an Irishtown."

Well the ambience around St. Barnabas and Woodlawn would give you the impression of a flourishing Irish town.

There was a packed house with generations from childhood to grandparents well represented. Performers included the Musical Munchkins, Frankie McCormick, Mary Courtney, John Walsh, Aisling Center Ceili Band and Ballad Group, Deirdre O’Mara School of Dancers as well as Students of Dawn Doherty School of Music.

Fr. Brendan Fitzgerald, the pastor of St. Barnabas Parish was a busy man. He was the MC or Fear an Ti, plus he entertained the full house with melodic renditions of a few of his favorite songs.

Perhaps you could say the man of the cloth was taking a leaf from the hymnal of St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, namely, “The one who sings, prays twice." Well, on that note, the priest from the Kingdom hit the mark, and the high note, quite often.

Overall it was a fantastic evening of Irish music and dance, and it certainly was the tonic that got everybody into the Christmas spirit.