The reviews continue to come in that this year‘s St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast was a successful debut by the new host, Senator Nick Collins.
In a prelude to the live event, the gathering was warmed up by emcee, Clerk Mike Donovan. He introduced the several speakers, who addressed the attendees with important messages. They included by Chief Marshal John Beatty, emphasizing respect for the traditions, Police Commissioner Will Gross, in his Irish brogue, emphasizing public safety and community (he also claims to be 2% Irish). Entertainment was provided by Bob Fowkes and Curragh’s Fancy and by Celtic Classics, fiddlers Alanna and Julia Tryder, accompanied by Liam Hart on keyboard.
In a show of harmony, Senator Collins was introduced by his former colleague and predecessor host, former Senator Linda Dorcena Forry. Collins arrived to the tune of “If you’re Irish come into the parlor there’s a welcome there for you”. Grace and the invocation were delivered by Bishop William Dickerson II of the Greater Love Tabernacle in Dorchester and Reverend Father Joe White, Our Lady of Good Voyage Parish. The national anthem of Ireland was sung by Cambridge Police Deputy Superintendent Pauline Wells and the United States national anthem was sung by parade chairman and Veteran, Brian Bishop.
The location of the event at the Raymond L. Flynn Cruiseport received rave reviews and those in attendance said it was the most comfortable they have ever felt at this event. Not surprisingly, the Mayor and former Ambassador himself along with his wife Cathy were beaming. The theme of history and the influence of immigrants over generations was underscored by the multicultural and multi-ethnic attendees from across the 1St Suffolk Senate District, as well as political leaders from around the Commonwealth, who joined their colleagues in government to enjoy the St. Patrick’s and Evacuation Day festivities. A tribute to Irish immigrants was on display courtesy of John McColgan, the City of Boston Archivist and his staff.
With a raucous crowd already pumped up, Collins, admittedly not a comic, chose to regale the crowd with his rendition of Hamilton’s signature song, “You’ll Be Back” directed at Governor Charlie Baker’s presumed British roots. Although the Governor reminded folks that his mother, the late Elizabeth Ghormley, was solid Irish. .
Congressman Stephen Lynch, City Councilors Michael Flaherty, Ed Flynn and Frank Baker, as well as Rep. David Biele combined for entertaining song and political barbs. Also on the dais were Senate President Karen Spilka, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, and Senator Edward Markey, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and City Council president Andrea Campbell. A host of colleagues from the Senate, House of Representatives and City Hall were also on hand.
One of two highlights was a personal video message from former Vice President Joe Biden recalling Collins support of his short-lived presidential run in 2007. He also warmly greeted Mayor Marty Walsh, Congressman Steven Lynch and others and wishing he was there. The other was the powerful tenor voice of Paul Byrum, of Celtic Thunder fame, who delivered a soul-soothing “Danny Boy” and a heart-pounding, “Ireland” to cap off the event.
The announcers and broadcasters of NECN and others who were interviewed on television expressed how impressed they were with how smoothly the event went, and the performance by Senator Collins on his first time under this kind of pressure. One senior citizen remarked that, “It was one of the classiest breakfast events in memory”.
Congratulation Senator Nick Collins. You did your friends, family, neighborhood and district proud.