Friday, October 17th, 2014
8 AM-7 PM
Basil 135 Auditorium
St. John Fisher College
Free and Open to the Public
EIRE ON THE ERIE: THE IRISH AND THE ERIE CANAL
This conference will examine the role which Irish immigrants played in the building and sustaining of the Erie Canal. In particular, the focus will be on how work related to the Canal helped to foster the Irish communities in Upstate New York. The purpose of this conference is to raise awareness of the significant work on the Canal done by the Irish and Irish-Americans, and why this needs to be better known. Working closely with the Erie Canal Museum in Syracuse, the goal of the conference is to encourage current Irish-Americans in New York State to explore their heritage and learn more about the importance of the Canal overall, as well as how it helped to shape the lives of their ancestors. Emphasis will be placed upon individual lives as well as on the music which these people would have sung during the heyday of the Canal.
St. John Fisher College’s Lavery Library will display a photo exhibit on the Irish and the Canal.
8:00 AM-8:30 AM: Registration
8:30 AM-9:00 AM: Tim Madigan, Director of the Irish Studies Program: “County Cavan, William James, and the Erie Canal”; Ryan Mahoney, Executive Director, Irish American Heritage Museum, SJFC ‘07): “The Irish and the Erie Canal Exhibit”
9 AM-9:50 AM: THE ORIGINS OF THE ERIE CANAL:
Dan Ward (Curator, Erie Canal Museum): “The Irish Connection to the Erie Canal”; Robert Graham (Member of the Canal Society of New York State, SJFC ‘76): “Three Generations on the Barge Canal.”
10:10 AM-11:00 AM: THE IRISH COMMUNITIES OF UPSTATE NEW YORK: Carolyn Vacca (Associate Professor of History and Monroe County Historian): “The Irish Community of Rochester”; Tim Bohen (author of Against the Grain: The History of Buffalo’s First Ward): “The Irish Community of Buffalo”
11:15 AM-12:10 PM: THE FUTURE OF THE ERIE CANAL: Thomas Grasso (President of the Canal Society of New York State): “Preserving the Legacy of the Erie Canal”; James Walsh (Former member of Congress, NY 25 and Former Chairman, Congressional Friends of Ireland); “The Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor”
12:10 PM – 2:10 PM: Luncheon Break
2:10 PM-2:50 PM: MUSIC AND SONGS ON THE CANAL:
Ted McGraw (North American Archivist, Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann, SJFC ‘60): “Singing, Dancing, and Community”
3:00 PM-4:00 PM: THROUGH A COOK’S EYES
Gretchen Murray Sepik: A first-person interpretation of “Erie Canal Sal”, a roguish female cook who works aboard a canal boat. “Sal” will sing one of her own composed songs about “Crazy John”, and will touch upon aspects of life for a female cook including Irish humor, poetry, and jokes.
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: Tour the Irish and the Erie Canal Exhibit at the Lavery Library
6:00 PM – 7:00 PM: SONGS OF THE ERIE CANAL
The Dady Brothers’ unique style and instrumental versatility captures the essence of the traditional Irish tunes that were adapted by the canallers. John and Joe Dady, as audiences in the U.S., Canada, and Ireland know, are names synonymous with fine musical talent and fun. They will be playing selections from their CD “Songs of the Erie Canal”, which will be available for purchase after the show.
The evening show is dedicated in loving memory of the late Joseph Garnier Hetzler on what would have been his 80th birthday.
A block of rooms has been reserved at the Courtyard Marriott at a rate of $129.00 a night. Mention “St. John Fisher College Irish and the Erie Canal” if you call – the telephone number is 585-385-1000. The cut-off date for reservations is Thursday, October 2, 2014. You can also find visitor tips at www.visitrochester.com including lists of other hotels and sites to see when in the area.
For further details please contact Tim Madigan, Director of Irish Studies, St. John Fisher College at email@example.com; (585) 385-5259