Exciting Summer Programs and Events at the Center

Leo T. Walsh Program — Pride of place this month goes to the 2024 Leo T Walsh scholarship program committee which disbursed a record $71,000 in financial awards this year to 69 students graduating eighth grade or high school. This is the 31st year of the program, and the program has now awarded 739 scholarships awarded since 1994. The 2024 financial payouts to students increased by $13,000 over last year’s number. Several new awards were made this year including the Robert F. Reinland and Paul T Reynolds memorial scholarships. Special thanks to the Paul Reynolds family who contributed a significant donation this year to the educational endowment fund. The success of the program is owed to the generous contributions of community supporters and donors. The organizers extend their gratitude to everyone who played a part in this year’s success. We give special recognition to Peggy Nevin and Carmelle Reiser for their tireless efforts behind the scenes in administering the scholarship program. Over 300 people attended the 2024 event on May 19th.

Summer Camp Kicks Off — The fourth annual summer camp begins on Monday, June 10th, and runs until June 28th. This year, over 90 kids signed up, a significant increase from the camp’s inception in 2021, when it started with just thirty kids. This rise in participation reflects the camp’s growing reputation for quality programs and engaging activities. This year’s camp explores the sounds and stories of Ireland’s songs, singers, and vocal legends in a show production created by campers and camp staff on the final night of the show on June 28th.

 While the camp continues to emphasize musical theatre, singing, music, dance, and hip hop, it also offers a variety of other activities. Kids can explore computer programming, web design, art, and set design, ensuring a well-rounded experience that caters to diverse interests and talents.

Record Three Céilis in June — We have three Céilí dances penciled in for June, which might be a record for the Center. Up first on Sunday June 2 is the Mary McDonagh Tribute Céili 6:30pm – 9:30pm with the Sourdough Céilí Band. There will be a special performance of the Rose Tree Youth Céilí Band at the beginning of the event starting around 6.25pm. Renowned Scottish accordionist Gary Blair will play for the Céilidh on Friday June 14th at 7pm. During the Trad Festival weekend there will be a Céilí Mór on Saturday June 22nd between 6-9pm with Music by the Sourdough Céilí Band.

Bloomsday June 15th — As part of the global Bloomsday Festival for Ulysses by James Joyce, author Michael Fallon will discuss Bloomsday Eve, A Personal Reflection on Ulysses in the St. Francis Room starting at 3.30pm.

Benefit for Children of Gaza — On Saturday June 15th, there will be a benefit concert for the Children Of Gaza with Irish Music all day from 4:00pm – 10:00pm. There will also be art for sale by Gazan artists during the event.

Trad Fest Weekend — We will host our first annual Traditional Irish music weekend at the Center between Friday June 21 and Sunday June 23. Irish music session band “Paddy on the Binge” from Davis, CA will kick off the festival at 7.30pm on Friday evening. Harpist Amelia Romano will also perform during the evening aswell. On Saturday we host several Irish music workshops sponsored by the Cooley-Keegan Comhaltas branch. Live music will take place in Wawona Gates from 2-5pm performed by “Turf in the Bog” out of Yosemite, CA. On Sunday the Gas Men perform at Wawona Gates between 2-5pm with the Irish pipers and Irish dancers.

UIS Raffle Winners — The fundraising raffle for the United Irish Societies was held on May 19th at the Center. The grand prize winner of the return flights to Ireland was Steve Murray, Pacifica. Other winners included: Margaret Cornish ($500), P and M Kelliher ($150), and Tom Cunnane ($100).

Community Art Exhibition — The Center hosts a local community art exhibition on the weekend of June 21-23. Photographer Dan McCarrah, and artists Gerry Daly, Jim Gleeson, and Deimante Stankeviciute (who is visiting from Co. Carlow, Ireland) who showcase art that they have been recently working on. Opening night is June 21 at 7pm in the St. Francis room.

Battle of the Bands — We have three live music bands playing at the Center on Saturday June 29th. Local bands “Bag of Nails” featuring Kevin McCarthy and “Noise in the Room” headlined by Nick Downs will be joined on the night by The Bracers out of Modesto, CA. Should be a fun evening of music as they battle to gain an invite to Rock the Gates on August 24th. Doors open 7:30pm.

Wawona Gates Turns 4 — We will mark the fourth anniversary of Wawona Gates on Sunday June 23rd with music by the Gas Men, Irish dancers and Irish Pipers and a large birthday cake! The Irish Shoppe will be open all afternoon. There will be a bounce house and kids games and activities throughout the afternoon.

Camp Showcase June 28th — The culmination of the Irish summer camp will be a grand showcase on Friday June 28th at 7pm produced by the campers themselves. The eagerly awaited performance will feature an enchanting blend of Irish music, captivating dance routines, heartfelt songs, and even the melodious tones of the Irish language.

Michael Moriarty R.I.P — Sincere sympathy to the family and friends of Michael Moriarty, a past President of the Irish Center who passed away last month.

Liam Reidy, President