Free Program at Library
Ireland’s Musical Heritage, a free program featuring acclaimed performer and songwriter Patrick O’Flaherty, will be presented by the Greenbrier County Public Library Sunday, July 25, from 2 to 3:30 p.m.
Refreshments will be served during the program, made possible by the Music Performance Trust Fund, through Local 674 of the American Federation of Musicians.
The multi-talented O’Flaherty has many notable aspects to his biography, including once performing for Pope John Paul II and writing songs in a Celtic language that is almost lost. He plans to bring along several instruments, including the Irish button accordion, mandolin, harmonica and tenor banjo.
In addition to enjoying music, attendees will have a unique opportunity to question and converse with Patrick O’Flaherty at this special July event, which celebrates the 14th anniversary of the opening of the library facility at 152 Robert W. McCormick Drive in downtown Lewisburg.
O’Flaherty is the embodiment of Ireland’s musical heritage. He was born and grew up in Ireland. Until age 17, his only language was Gaelic, which only four percent of the Irish population now speaks fluently. He writes and sings in Gaelic, as well as English.
O’Flaherty has performed in venues ranging from traditional pubs to the inaugural ball of President Reagan. He also has performed in such varied spots around the globe as the Caribbean, Israel and in his native Ireland.
The performance for the pope occurred in Washington, DC, O’Flaherty and his brother Danny were approached with a request for the pope to use their microphone to make a statement. The pope ending up standing between the O’Flaherty brothers.
While O’Flaherty is particularly known for his versatility with instruments, he also possesses a singing voice that ranges from robust and jocular to a lilting inflection with that yearning quality that is a hallmark of the most beloved Celtic singers.
The acoustics of the library’s picture window sitting area will showcase that compelling voice. His repertoire includes his own compositions and traditional songs ranging from lively to reflective.
This special appearance at the Greenbrier Public Library was arranged by Gary Williams, secretary and treasurer of Local 674 of the American Federation of Musicians.
The grant is from the Music Performance Trust Fund, sponsored by major recording companies. Typically, the fund provides matching grants, but created a special opportunity for 100 percent funding as a result of so many musical events cancelled because of the pandemic.
Williams underscored the impressiveness of O’Flaherty’s resume when asked why he had chosen this particular musician. “Patrick is a special guy,” he said. In large cities such as New Orleans and Washington, “Patrick is a big deal.” (It seems fitting that one of O’Flaherty’s albums is titled Himself, a humorous nod to a reference regarding someone important.)
For those concerned about social distancing for the event, the library will provide, in the back of the normal seating, chairs six feet apart. Wearing of masks will be appreciated.
More information about the event is available from the library at 304-647-7568.
Any organizations interested in sponsoring such an event are welcome to contact Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org.