Monday, October 26, 2015

Stardust in New York

If you were wondering where our postmistress Noeleen Eston and her partner Joe O'Neill have been this last week, well, they've been sprinkling a little Stardust in the Big Apple, writes Brian Byrne.

And in the process, helping to raise funds for the Emerald Isle Immigration Center in New York, which provides resources, advice and active help for immigrants to the US.

Noeleen and Joe are in New York for the annual 'October Seis' gig organised by members of the O'Neill family in memory of Joe O'Neill Snr from Athy, who founded the Stardust Orchestra that toured dance venues across Ireland in the 40s and 50s.

Each year the Seis is held in a different part of the world, where there is a member of the O'Neill family or their friends, with a local charity or benevolent organisation being the recipient of the funds raised.

Since 2006 the October Seis gigs have been held in Cavan, Tewkesbury in the UK, Naas, Westport, and Athy itself, as well as previously in New York. Joe Snr also founded the St Joseph's Boys Band and later the CBS Brass and Reed Orchestra. When he died in 1989, he left a large family of musicians to keep the tunes ringing.

The main gig at the weekend for the Immigrant Center took place at Jack Demsey's Restaurant & Bar on West 33rd Street.

Joe and Noeleen have their own 'Stardust' operation here in Ireland playing ballrooms and hotels on a regular basis in the Leinster area. They also regularly entertain in nursing homes here, and continued that on Friday afternoon with a performance at the Mary Manning Walsh Nursing Home on Manhattan's Upper East East Side. They then repaired to the nearby Ryan's Daughter Bar & Restaurant for some further musical sessions.

"We also dropped in to Rosie O'Grady's to see Frances Brennan from Old Kilcullen," Noeleen told the Diary over the weekend. "She sends her regards to everybody back home."

Joe and Noeleen are currently working on a new album, as yet un-named, and we picture them recording rece.ntly in the WL studios near Castledermot. Their previous CD, 'Nobody's Darling but Mine' was released last year and was very successful for the duo.