Mid-Atlantic News

Remembering Joe Reavy with Friends, Family, and Lots of Great Music 

Friends, family members, and traditional Irish musicians from far and wide gathered for an all-star session June 3 at St. Peter’s Church in the Great Valley, Malvern, Pa., to celebrate the life of Joe Reavy, son of the prolific composer of Irish tunes Ed Reavy, and an outstanding musician and musicologist in his own right. Joe Reavy died January 13, 2023, at the age of 95.

“It was the family’s idea to celebrate in this way. We had talked about it, and it just made so much sense,” says Katherine Ball-Weir, chair of the Philadelphia-Delaware Valley branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, and a friend of Joe. “They had wanted to do something that would be a celebration of Joe and really reflect what was important to him. We first talked about it at the time of his death, and we just knew Joe would have really loved it. It was a wonderful party and a true ‘Celebration of Life.’ We were just wishing he could have been here to be a part of it.” 

A memorial service in the historic church preceded the session. Fiddler Alexander Weir, Ball-Weir’s son and one of Reavy’s many longtime friends, played a slow air at communion. 

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A Look Back at a Successful 2023 Mid-Atlantic Regional Fleadh 

Musicians don’t usually wear pajamas to traditional Irish music sessions, but for the kids attending the CCÉ Mid-Atlantic Region Fleadh in May, such casual wear was encouraged. The combination pajama and pizza party was a new feature of the 2023 Mid-Atlantic Fleadh in Parsippany, N.J., part of an overall effort to make the event more kid-friendly, says regional Chair Annmarie Acosta Williams. Williams co-chaired the event together with North American Provincial Chair Frankie McCormick and a dedicated Fleadh committee. 

“This was our first time as a new Fleadh committee, with some people who were on the committee previously, but also with a lot of new blood,” says Williams. “We had a particular vision to approach the Fleadh by keeping things exactly as they were before and to make it familiar for everybody, but to balance that with some obvious changes. We particularly wanted to up the social component for the children, to make it more youthful.”

The so-called “juice box session” was modeled after a youth-oriented program initiated by the Washington, D.C.-area O’Neill-Malcom Branch, with Maisie Lynch heading that effort. “They started the idea of having sessions that are specific for children,” says Williams, “so when I wanted to do something similar for the Fleadh, I reached out to Maisie to ask if she would help. And she did more than help. She and Erin Fitzpatrick agreed to oversee our event, and then I kind of threw in the pizza, the pajamas, and games.”

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