AREA NEWSThe Northern Westchester Examiner

Yorktown’s Irish to Head to March in NYC Parade

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Yorktown Irish-American Pipe and Drum Band
Yorktown Irish-American Pipe and Drum Band

By Alex Weisler

Yorktown Irish-American Social Club President Tom Hinchey said his organization’s members spend all year looking forward to marching in New York City’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.

“It’s without a doubt the highlight of the year,” said Hinchey, a certified public accountant who lives in Yorktown and works for ABD Associates.

Hinchey said the club sends about 30 to 35 band members to the parade, in addition to about 40 non-musical club members who march in the yearly event.

The celebration is a great way to bring local Irish-Americans together and showcase the island nation’s powerful, vibrant culture, Hinchey said.

“It’s a wonderful pipe band and it’s a great way to further the Irish culture,” he said. “We have a terrific in culture in food and music and arts.”

The club has been around for 40 years and was initially begun as a way for neighbors to help each other with things like babysitting and tutoring, he said.

“The club started over 40 years ago with Irish immigrants and first-generation … and just helping each other out, people who knew each other,” he said. “And from that it grew into someone deciding, ‘Let’s have a social club.’ “

The club also holds annual spring and fall dances and visits nursing homes near St. Patrick’s Day to sing traditional Irish songs and deliver Irish soda bread to the residents.

The same type of visits occur in December “to bring some Christmas cheer to our elderly fellows,” Hinchey said.

“It’s very, very well-received,” he said.

Though works of art like “Riverdance” have helped bring traditional Irish culture back into the mainstream, it’s important to work to ensure the Irish-American community doesn’t become too assimilated, Hinchey said.

“As the baby boomers are getting older, they’re trying to revive a lot of the Irish culture,” said Hinchey, who’s been a member of the Yorktown club for four years. “The Irish have assimilated very well into the U.S. society which is a very good thing, but on the other hand it has taken away some of our own culture.”

The national pride on full display each year in New York City goes a long way toward ensuring that Irish culture remains strong for years to come, Hinchey said.

That’s one of the reasons the Yorktown club really encourages attendance and participation, like hiring a bus for the day to bring marchers to and from the city, he added.

“It’s a great, great afternoon,” he said. “We’re fortunate enough to be one of the few clubs that are chosen to march every year.”

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