St. Joseph’s University, New York alumni gathered Sunday, March 5, at the Dyker Beach Golf Course in Brooklyn for a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration.
The annual event, hosted by the University’s Office of Institutional Advancement, featured brunch, Irish step dancing and a special musical performance by the O’Boomgaardens — a group that features SJNY President Donald R. Boomgaarden, Ph.D.; Director of the Writer’s Foundry MFA program Lee Clay Johnson; and former students of Dr. Boomgaarden, Mike Gaulke and Geovanny Juarez.
“This event always makes me think of three things,” said Flavio Bollag, assistant vice president for advancement and engagement at St. Joseph’s. “It makes me think about tradition, and how important it is to look back and continue to touch on the things that have mattered to us as a community for so long.
“It makes me think about celebration, and it makes me think about hidden talents,” he added.
Groups of dancers from the O’Malley Irish Dance Academy performed at the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, before inviting members of the audience to join them for a demonstration on how to do a traditional Irish dance.
The O’Boomgaardens performed several bluegrass songs, exploring and celebrating the influence of Irish music on American music.
“All my life I’ve studied music,” said Dr. Boomgaarden, who is a classically trained pianist. “A part of my childhood growing up was folk music, particularly bluegrass music. My grandfather was a country fiddler. So along with studying classical piano, I also studied fiddle.
“They’re two very different worlds, but I like to combine them every once in a while,” he added.