Upstate New York's Irish Music Archive

By McGraw, Ted | Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore, Spring-Winter 2018 | Go to article overview

Upstate New York's Irish Music Archive


McGraw, Ted, Voices: The Journal of New York Folklore


I started collecting records in 1952, when I was 15. In those years, I listened to several programs featuring Irish, Scottish, and old-time country dance music, including Don Messer from Prince Edward Island, Jim Magill from Toronto, Abby Andrews from St. Catherine's, The Shamrock Show from Niagara Falls, Jerry's Hayshakers from Boston, Irish Melodies from Rochester, and "Ontario Roundup," a country and western show from Toronto, which featured country dance music at the beginning and end.

I had always been interested in radio and even built a little Heathkit radio along the way, which actually worked. So, in 1974, when the collection had built to a level of vocals and instrumentals that could sustain a radio show, I found that Greece Athens High School had just gone on the air with the radio station WGMC and was looking for volunteers who could contribute culturally to the community. It was then, on October 16, 1974, that the "Irish Party House" show was born. Starting out, it was a fun time on the radio, because in addition to our own requests, Irish events calendar, and news from Ireland, we had to prepare general public service announcements and local news of the day. When the station installed a significant power increase in 1980, it cost a few dollars, and that caught the attention of the school board, who thought that it would be a good idea to charge us volunteers for air time. It turned out to be a wonderful rallying point for the Irish community in Rochester, and our fundraisers were a great success.

The successful establishment of the radio show allowed us to be included on the distribution lists of the latest releases from all the major labels of Irish music. This worked even in Ireland, when on our several trips over to visit my wife's parents, I used to visit the major distributors and music stores in Ireland.

In the first decade of the 21st century, I added an extra hour to broadcast some Scottish music and the Celtic-related music of Canada. …

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Upstate New York's Irish Music Archive
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