"But Tony has also really helped bring a sense of community to Gaelic Roots and BC, in attracting people from the Boston area. His involvement has certainly gone a long way to making Gaelic Roots the premier event that it's become."
Now, Connolly hopes that the community will show its appreciation for Cuffe, who is battling cancer. Connolly and the Irish Studies Program have helped organize benefit concerts on Nov. 10 and 11 in Gasson 100 to support Cuffe and his family, featuring some of the most prominent performers of Irish and Scottish traditional music and dance.
Brian O'Donovan, host of WGBH-FM's "A Celtic Sojourn," will emcee the Nov. 10 concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m., while the Nov. 11 show - beginning at 2 p.m. - will be hosted by Irish Echo columnist Earle Hitchner.
Among the performers scheduled to appear at one or both of the concerts are renowned Uilleann piper and former Bothy Band member Paddy Keenan, popular Irish vocalist Aoife Clancy, local accordion legend Joe Durrane and harpist Mairead Doherty. BC representatives include Connolly and fellow fiddler Laurel Martin, flute and tin whistle player Jimmy Noonan and Irish step-dancer and choreographer Michael Smith, all of whom teach in the Irish Studies Program.
"Irish Studies is delighted to be hosting this event, and to do whatever we can to be of help to Tony and his family," said Connolly. "It's a great tribute to Tony that so many fine performers from around the world wanted to come and play on his behalf."
Cuffe, a native of Glasgow, was a founding member of the popular Scottish folk group Ossian. In addition to performing with various ensembles, Cuffe has cultivated a successful solo career as a vocalist and multi-instrumentalist. He has been living in the Boston area for several years with his wife, Cath, and three children.
Admission for each show is $25. Visit the World Wide Web page tcbenefit.org for updated information on the concerts or to read about Tony Cuffe. Details also are available at ext.2-0490.
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