For the past four years I have planned and implemented a Concert for St. Patrick at SMC during the month of March. There are several reasons I spend many hours doing this not least among which is the desire to return St. Patrick's day to a festival of dance and music as opposed to drinking frenzy which it seems to have become everywhere. I have also seen it as an opportunity to promote Irish dance and music performance on the part of members of the SMC comunity. Several years ago Julie Griffin Carty, an SMC student and world class Irish dancer started, together with several others, the Celtic Knights Irish dance group. Now numbering some 20 students they perform at many events and are quite spectacular.
Over the years many SMC students have performed at the concerts including singers, pipers, whistle players and groups. We have also been entertained by groups from the Vermont folk scene such as Atlantic Crossing, Woods Tea Company and my own band, the Highalnd Weavers. Declan McCabe (biology professor) and Richard Kujawa (geography professsor) are two notable regulars.
This coming March we have the possiblity of being entertained by three of the iconic legends of Irish music in the US. If all the stars allign (i.e. the funds can be accumulated) Liz Carroll, Mick Moloney, and Billy McComiskey will perform at the McCarthy performing arts center on campus in March.
The other exciting part of the Concerts for St. Patrick is that they are fund raisers for local charities. The first year we raised funds that became part of the SMC response to Katrina. This was followed by two years raising funds for Parent to Parent of Vermont. We now raise money for the Tom Sustic Fund for Families of Children with Cancer. The experience also provides an opportunity for one or two SMC students to learn how to put a concert like this together.