Mar 08, 2011 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
As the recession worsens, everybody’s hurtin’.
Even Syracuse’s long-running St. Patrick’s Parade is scraping for cash. The annual event, which will draw thousands of revelers downtown at noon Saturday March 12, costs up to $35,000.
A few local taverns – such as Kitty Hoyne’s Irish Pub and Restaurant and Coleman’s Authentic Irish Pub in Tipp Hill – coordinated fundraisers for the parade, and Guinness beer distributor T.J. Sheehan donated $5,000 this year. But as of last weekend, organizers had raised just $25,000, leaving an estimated $10,000 shortfall.
Nevertheless, the parade marches on.
The theme of the 29th annual procession is “The Blessings of Irish Wit and Wisdom.”
“The purpose of the parade,” says its president, Janet Higgins, “is to pay homage to our community and celebrate the culture and traditions of the Irish.”
Capt. Walsh is grand marshal
Syracuse Police Capt. Richard Patrick Walsh has been chosen as grand marshal of the 2011 parade. As a bagpiper in the Syracuse Kiltie Pipe Band, Walsh has participated in every St. Patrick’s Parade here since its inception in 1983. He has worked with the police department for four decades.
Coincidentally, on parade day Walsh will retire as the SPD’s captain of detectives, a position he has filled for the past 23 years.
Bugles and banjos
The parade has traditionally presented some 150 units including gaily-bedecked, banjo-playing Philadelphia Mummers, the Syracuse Brigadiers Drum and Bugle Corps, and balloon characters including the Geico gecko and the Limp Lizard. In 2007, a “Trailblazers” float by the CNY Labor Federation, AFL-CIO, depicted the Tipperary Hill stone-throwers who convinced the powers-that-be to install a green-over-red traffic light in the city’s Irish West End neighborhood.
The parade committee is also conducting its sixth annual Hunger Project food drive collecting non-perishable food items for the Food Bank of CNY and the Interreligious Food Consortium. Barrels for donations will be placed throughout downtown Syracuse on parade day.
Hooley moves to Fairmount
Since 1976, Hotel Syracuse has hosted a St. Patrick’s Day hooley. Since 1983, when Nancy Duffy established the parade, the hotel augmented that event with music, food and dancing in the Persian Terrance and Imperial Ballroom, and it continued the tradition even after the hotel officially closed in 2004. But this Saturday, the hotel’s doors will be closed.
So the Flyin’ Column – the venerable Syracuse band that entertained for 34 years straight at the hotel hooley – will appear instead at Asil’s Pub, 220 Chapel Drive in Fairmount. Admission is free; 488-4680.
“We’ve been doing a party on parade day for so long now we’d hate to call a halt to the hooley,” said the Column’s banjo man, Don Meixner.
Also performing at Asil’s from 3 to 7 p.m. Saturday will be the Tom Dooley Choraliers, who you’ve probably seen on a recent Dunk & Bright TV commercial.
SSO still struggling
Another victim of the ongoing economic crisis is the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra.
Last week, SSO executives announced that the orchestra fell $145,000 short of its March 4 fundraising goal. Nevertheless, its classics series continued that night and March 5, and a pops concert is scheduled for March 11 And 12.
The orchestra must raise $1.75 million by Aug. 1. The SSO operates on an annual budget of $7 million which supports a staff of 63 musicians, 14 contract musicians, 13 full-time employees and seven part-timers.
On Jan. 25, in the midst of its 34-week golden anniversary season, SSO management found itself on the brink of a shutdown due to low ticket sales and depleted corporate and government funding. Since then, nearly 2,000 people, 38 corporate sponsors and 11 fund-raisers responded to the “Keep the Music Playing” campaign by donating more than $675,000.
Many of those donors are first-time contributors, said SSO Interim Executive Director Paul Brooks.
Meanwhile, SSO musicians have returned more than $700,000 in salaries and benefits to the organization and have proposed a two-year wage freeze.
In phase two of the KTMP campaign, the SSO has set monthly goals of $400,000 in both April and May, money which will go toward the overall $1.75 million goal. Once those two monthly goals are reached, the SSO will need an additional $130,000 to complete the campaign.
“Please continue to give generously to preserve the SSO as the cultural cornerstone of our arts community,” implored orchestra board Chairman Rocco Mangano. To donate, call 424-8222 or visit syracusesymphony.org.