"The Magic of Christmas," a sensational new show featuring singer Andy Cooney, the man The New York Times dubbed Irish America's favorite son, is coming to New York's Carnegie Hall on December 4. The Massapequa, Long Island native has been singing Irish songs professionally for more than 20 years, so it's no surprise he has attracted a devoted following. Cooney and his band go out on tour twice a year around Christmas and St. Patrick's Day, and demand for tickets is always very strong. "'The Magic of Christmas' is a show that I've been invited to headline this year," Cooney tells the Irish Voice. "We're going to have a full symphony orchestra, with performances by amazing soloists like the Slovak violinist Vladimir Jablokov and electrifying performances by harpist and singers like Aideen O'Donnell." Since the show is called "The Magic of Christmas," it promises to be what Cooney calls "a very eclectic Christmas production with an Irish touch to it." Cooney will bring his own Irish flair to the night, but he'll also be joined by a full gospel choir and a children's festival chorus. There's no question that the concert will pull out all the stops to whip up some festive cheer. One of nine children born into a deep-rooted Irish American family on Long Island, Cooney has been singing Irish songs literally all his life, beginning at the age of five when he first sang for family and church gatherings. But his professional career really began at the age of 17 when he appeared on stage in New York entertaining audiences with his piano playing and singing. To date Cooney has recorded many solo albums, working with talent like the world-famous Irish songwriter Phil Coulter on the album "Home Away From Home." Says Cooney, "My grandfather Andy Feehan was an Irish tenor and that was a big part of my upbringing, learning the traditional Irish songs. And I'm back and forth to Ireland four or five times a year, so I've picked up old songs from there too, of course." These days Cooney works with some of the finest musicians on the Irish music scene, touring all over the U.S. throughout the year. His ambition is always to produce a high-energy show that showcases the finest in Irish music, comedy and dance. "I'll be featuring a new song by Neil Diamond in the show called 'Pretty Amazing Grace,' which I'm excited to introduce. My son Ryan who's 12 years old will be singing 'The Little Drummer Boy' with the orchestra, and the conductor of the RTE Concert Orchestra - Gearoid Grant - will fly over from Dublin to conduct the show." The show has wide ranging ticket prices to suite every pocket, starting at $35 and going up to $85, and no less than 18 buses are already scheduled to bring Long Island concert-goers to the rapidly selling out venue. "It's going to a warm glow type of Christmas show that people really love at this time of year. It'll get you in the mood for the holidays. That's why the show is selling very well already and we're looking forward to creating a magical night out," says Cooney. Besides his Carnegie Hall commitment, Cooney will also be a headline performer alongside Ronan Tynan on the Irish Star Cruise in 2009, where he will join over 1,200 of his biggest fans on that highly anticipated voyage next year. For details visit www.cruiseofirishstars.com for details. For tickets to the Carnegie Hall "Magic of Christmas" concert visit www.carnegie hall.com or telephone 212 247-7800.
Moving to Ireland
After living in Ireland for almost one year, this is what I’ve learned