Tom Gallagher, President of the Irish Cultural Centre of New England, stood before a packed room at the ICC on Monday evening, November 5, 2012, and called the Annual Members Meeting to order. He thanked everyone for their generous contribution of volunteer hours and urged people to “continue supporting the Centre with your work.” He invited ICC Executive Director Mary McTigue to the podium to give a summary of the year’s activities and achievements.
McTigue introduced the ICC staff working behind the scenes to help members and volunteers achieve the Centre’s goals. She introduced Emmett Donovan, Pub Manager, as the newest member to the ICC team who is on board as functions and entertainment manager creating a blend of traditional Irish and local music offerings at the ICC Pub. She went on to highlight that the ICCNE Boston Irish Festival continues to be the signature event of the Centre. In fact, she mentioned that “thanks to the efforts of Seamus Mulligan and countless others, people recognize the ICC because of its Festival.”
Mary McTigue was delighted to report that the ICC Academy is offering more classes and reaching more students, particularly in areas of Irish language learning. The ICC looks forward to more programming opportunities with Cumann Na Gaeilge Irish Language Society of Boston. The Centre’s Children’s Irish Summer Camp drew 30 children to the ICC this past summer, thanks, in part, to its important partnership with the Boys and Girls Club in Dorchester. Mary exclaimed that Camp Week was “a great week for all of us with all of the children in the building and on the fields.”
McTigue cited numerous other highlights in the 2011 ICC programs including the successful field trip to the McMullen Museum of Art at Boston College to view the Famine Art Exhibit. She reminded ICC members that she welcomes their input and insight regarding what happens at the Centre. Mary then invited Anne Kennedy, Acting Treasurer of the ICCNE, to join her in reporting the review of the ICC Financials for 2011 and the 2011-2012 Year-to-Date Comparisons. Members present commented that they “really appreciated the transparency and full accounting” that Mary and Anne demonstrated throughout the evening’s reports.
All in attendance, however, agreed that the moments with the most impact on the true spirit of membership in the Irish Cultural Centre came during the ICC Recognition of Larry Reynolds, Founding Member and Lifetime Supporter of the ICCNE. Tom Gallagher began the reflection on the remarkable nature of Galway fiddler, Larry Reynolds, who passed away at the age of 80 on October 12th of this year.
Gallagher described Reynolds as a “great friend, ready and willing to help out wherever needed.” Gallagher then asked Jim Roach to make the formal presentation to the Reynolds family. Mr. Roach recounted that his and Larry Reynolds’ paths had crossed over 60 years ago in Ahascragh, County Galway, at ceili and set dancing activities. In Brighton, Massachusetts they met up the Green Briar sessions. It was there that “Larry had the chance to play for 20, 30, 40 years to all colors and creeds passing through.” He made everyone “feel welcome and a friend.” Roach reminded us that “Larry seldom said ‘no’ to anyone” and got along with students, commoners, dignitaries and politicians. For Larry, it was always about “the privilege of playing” the music and bringing people together to enjoy a good tune. At the ICC Boston Irish festival he was a familiar player each and every year in the Comhaltas tent.
Larry Reynolds, Jr. thanked the Irish Cultural Centre for giving special tribute to his father. He spoke for all who new Larry and Larry’s fondness for the Centre when he said, “this kind of place is what dad loved about being Irish and promoting Ireland.” He reminded us that “this is what Ireland needs” and urged ICC members to “keep it going.” As he gazed out in the audience and saw the multitude of faces of whom his dad had known so well, Reynolds, Jr. explained that he felt compelled to be sure that all in the Centre thanked his mom, Phyllis, as well, for “we only came to know dad thanks to her pushing him out the door with a good, ironed shirt.” With solemn laughter of acknowledgment and deep respect, the Annual Meeting moved into its question and answer period and then drew to a close as members new and old gathered over refreshments to celebrate the year past and the ones ahead.