Friday, November 07, 2014


A number of months ago Haley and I were at a house concert where we saw Donie Carroll. We listened intently to his stories about the children at the Mercy Centre in Bangkok. He had recently returned from a visit there and was describing the children and the work done at the Centre to help them. Haley was intrigued so I asked Donie for more information on what he does to help the Centre. He sent pictures and video of the children he met during his visit and asked Haley if she would like to participate in his benefit concert this fall.

That concert was this past weekend. We drove to New York early in the day so Haley could fit in a fiddle lesson then headed into the city for the concert. It was a rainy, windy, cold evening so not the best for driving and walking.

We arrived early for the sound check not knowing exactly what Haley would be doing or who she would be playing with. Mick Moloney greeted us at the door and suggested Haley sit in with his band for the first half of the show. They went backstage after the sound check and worked out their sets and set list. The stage was very small so Haley and Dan had to sit in a back row. They played a number of tune sets sometimes with solo tunes and various combinations of musicians on other tunes. There were some songs as well. Haley was excited to be able to play a duet with Dan Gurney, an amazing young (young compared to me but old compared to Haley) accordion player we've met and seen in concert a number of times but whom Haley has never performed with.

The concert ended late in the evening then we stuck around to talk to the audience members and musicians. We headed home around 11pm but hit an hour delay going through the Lincoln Tunnel so it took longer than expected to get home. Since it was the end of Daylight Savings Time, I decided to call it a draw…hour wasted in the tunnel balanced out with the hour gained.

Sunday we woke a little later than usual since we had arrived home around 2:30am the night before. Haley got up and practiced a bit before we headed into Philly for the second fundraising concert of the weekend. This concert was the 27th Annual St. Malachy's Fundraising Concert to raise money for the school run by St. Malachy's. Again, the band was Mick Moloney and friends.

We arrived early for a delicious lunch and sound check. Mick had driven down from NY with the Irish Consul General who is wonderfully down to earth and friendly. We liked her immediately and enjoyed her stories during lunch. She was very interested in getting to know the musicians and Philadelphia Irish community.

Haley and her buddy Paraic performed with the band through the concert. They played many of the same sets they had done the previous night and then some additional guests provided songs of their own. The concert was wonderful and the fundraiser a huge success! We enjoyed a nice reception afterward where we were able to talk to everyone. We drove home rather than go to the Sunday night session because Haley insisted she had more practicing to do. We got home and she practiced.

Haley is very interested in being able to use her music to help people. When she was really little, around six years old, she saw a commercial for St. Jude's and kept asking to go there and play music for the sick children. I called the local children's hospital but was told she'd have to be sixteen before she'd be allowed. Since then she's been able to play at a number of different fundraisers in the local and broader community and also helped raise money for a fundraiser using her decorated violin and viola mutes. (

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