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

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

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.

(CHEERING)

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "NO NAY NEVER")

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

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

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "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.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ONE ROAD")

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.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "ONE ROAD")

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.