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COVID-19 Closes Boston Bars. Irish Singer Performs From His Porch


So St. Patrick's Day and social distancing do not go hand-in-hand, and that meant the mood in Boston yesterday was pretty unusual - no parade, no bar crawls. That was not going to fly with Sean Corcoran, aka Irish entertainer. He grabbed his guitar and decided to take his annual show outside. He is a journalist with member station WGBH, and he brings us this postcard.

SEAN CORCORAN, BYLINE: Nice to see everybody. Good social distancing.


CORCORAN: Well, I put out an email to my neighbors and said, for the first time in 22 years, I'm not going to have a pub to sing Irish songs in or for anyone. So some folks came out on their own porches; I went out on my porch. And we sang some Irish songs together and celebrated the day. You know, there's something about singing those songs that - they mean so much to people, particularly this time of year.


CORCORAN: (Singing) Well, it's no, nay, never - no, nay, never, no more, one, two.

I've been playing with my father at different Irish pubs and restaurants around the Boston area for a long time. And we actually just lost him a few weeks ago. He died of throat cancer. He had said he hoped to make it to St. Patrick's Day. But, you know, he didn't. And so this would have been my first - it is my first St. Patrick's Day without him by my side, singing songs. He was a real musician; I'm a hack. But he was - I remember being a boy and I described his job to someone as a singer, and he corrected me. He said, I'm an entertainer; you can't just get up there and sing. And that's kind of what I was trying to do out there today is, you know, let people forget some of their worries and just enjoy it.


CORCORAN: The last song I did was "One Road."


CORCORAN: (Singing) We're on the one road, sharing the one load.

My dad and I finished with that song every show, and that felt appropriate. It's about being together during a hard time.


CORCORAN: (Singing) Night is darkest just before the dawn.

No matter what happens from here, if nothing happens from here, this is a moment, a historic moment that none of us have ever seen before. We just have to take it day by day. And when we can find these little joys together, you know, we've got to grab them up.


CORCORAN: (Singing) We're on the one road and maybe the wrong road. But we're together now. Who cares? North Men, South Men, comrades all.

GREENE: WGBH journalist Sean Corcoran, who moonlights as a musician. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Sean Corcoran is both news director and senior reporter at WCAI in Woods Hole. He also is a managing editor for WGBH Radio. He began producing investigative series for WCAI in 2005, after moving to Cape Cod. In 2006 his 20-part series "Two Cape Cods: Hidden Poverty on the Cape and Islands,"won the Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award, considered the highest award in broadcast journalism. Recent series' topics include the Pilgrim Nuclear Power Plant; wind power; Alzheimer's Research and caregiving; military groundwater pollution; our changing energy systems; special education; and various science, health and ecology-related stories. For the first nine years of his career Corcoran worked as a staff reporter for various New England newspapers before moving to public radio. Corcoran is a graduate of The George Washington University and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He is a former 3rd grade teacher and adjunct journalism professor. He occasionally performs onstage with his father, an accomplished Irish entertainer. He lives on Cape Cod with his wife, Linda Corcoran, who is heard on-air on Friday mornings in her capacity as the Managing Editor at the Cape Cod Times. The couple has a young son, Seamus.
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