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Catching up with the Irish Cultural Centre - T. C Fitzgerald, ICC members, and featured photographer in the fall ICC pub exhibit

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Never before seen photo of Paul Brady playing the pipes.

This October, The Irish Cultural Centre of New England is pleased to begin a series of photography and art exhibits in the ICC Pub during Pub hours. As the ICC’s traditional gathering place for friends new and old to meet and enjoy the warmth of Irish laughter and fine music, it seems only fitting to warm up the walls a bit with rotating exhibits of beautiful art work related to Irish culture and history. The first exhibit, “Photo Exhibit of Irish Musicians by T. C. Fitzgerald” will open on Wednesday, October 10th with a reception from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Meeting and making Irish friends happens the world over, and often, such encounters have lifelong impact. For many of us, we meet in airports, at sports games and B & B’s, in pubs, or at ICC events. For Boston resident and photographer Tom C. Fitzgerald, it was a camp grounds near Aarhus, Denmark in 1970 where he found himself taking a lucky drink with a trio of Irish musicians. These three, Mick Maloney, Paul Brady, and Adrienne Johnston liked the young Tom who, as Tom readily admits of himself, “was really just a hippie with a camera” back in those days. He took them up on their invitation to travel by car from Denmark and Sweden to Norway.

When Tom saw the huge crowd at the opening night concert in Copenhagen’s Tivoli Gardens, he knew he was not traveling with ordinary, roving Irish musicians, he was in the company of The Johnston’s the Irish close-harmony folk band that “was all the rage throughout Europe.” The chance encounter with these Irish in a camp ground became Tom’s threshold to a “magical world of Irish music.” It is a world of Irish fiddlers, pipers, guitarists and others which Tom has captured over the years with his camera as he meets up with his, now wider, circle of Irish folk musician friends in local Boston pubs and parlors.

Tom is delighted to be showing a selection of these Irish Musician photos in the ICC pub. For him, “it’s the vibrant painting depicting a céilí dance called “Side Couples Swing” by Vincent Crotty which is hanging behind the bar of the ICC pub that is the catalyst for my reason to exhibit the photos.” For Tom, Crotty “captured a beautiful moment in that painting.” To look into the faces of Irish folk musicians playing together is, for Tom, “to see the seriousness with which these musicians listen to one another for the little changes, the adaptations, the subtle characteristics . . . to see how, as players of Irish music, they are so closely connected and all learning from each other as they go.”

In his ICC exhibit of about fifteen items, Tom hopes that his rare black and white photo of guitarist Paul Brady playing a pipe will pull the onlooker into that awareness of beautiful connectivity that happens when Irish musicians play. Tom believes that “many people are not aware that Paul Brady [of Johnston’s legendary fame] plays the pipe.

Using a camera lens to capture unique moments when musicians listen to each other takes care and concentration. As Tom prepares his exhibit for the pub at the Irish Cultural Centre he will work with about four or five sheets of the subject in his lab and then select the best image. He believes that taking care to render the right moment of the musician’s playing will “create an overall photography exhibit in the ICC pub, typically filled with music anyway, that will lend to the establishment a warmth from images on the wall for the community to and release into the atmosphere as the love it has for the music it is hearing.”

For more information about membership at the Irish Cultural Centre and the October 10th Opening Reception for the “Photo Exhibit of Irish Musicians by T. C. Fitzgerald” where you can meet and talk with Tom Fitzgerald please visit www.irishculture.org or call 781-821-8291.

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