The Irish Americans
Forty years ago, Bill McEvoy, originally from Kilcoke, Ballybrophy, was the first Comhaltas Ceolteori Eireann (CCE) coordinator to organize what became the annual concert tour of North America, the longest-running continuous tour from Ireland featuring traditional music, song and dance.
Less than a decade after emigrating with a young family in 1954, McEvoy turned the declining Irish Musicians Association into the nascent North American branch system that would reach 50 clubs throughout the U.S. and Canada. So fruitful were his efforts building CCE’s structure and influence over here that it was granted provincial status (along with Ireland’s four provinces and Britain) in 1991.
Still very active in CCE North America and Ireland, Bill stepped down as the first provincial chair in 1997, after steering the operation for 25 demanding years. Now 86, he has more time to spend with his wife of 59 years, Lily from County Kerry, their nine children, 25 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
In 1995, Bill was named Laois Man of the Year (the only American to gain this honor). In 1998 he was inducted into the CCE Mid-Atlantic Regional Hall of Fame.
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