A GROUP of Irish Dancers from South Derry and Tyrone have been invited to participate in this year’s New York St Patrick’s Day Parade along Fifth Avenue.
The dancers from the Smith School of Dancing will spend a week in New York, not only parading in the biggest St Patrick’s Day Parade in the world, but also performing at a number of prestigious events in the run up to the main day.
They will be accompanied by a group of parents and their three teachers, Eugene, Grainne and Eimear Smith.
Eugene Smith has described the trip as a once in a lifetime opportunity for the 19 dancers who will jet off to New York for the week long trip.
He said: “We have been invited to parade alongside the Tyrone Society of New York in this year’s parade.
“The entire group are looking forward to it with great excitement. The Society has been instrumental in the arranging of events during our stay for our dancers to perform at. The main focus will of course be the society’s Gala Ball in the Elite Palace on the eve of St. Patrick’s Day, where guests of honours include Dana and Tyrone’s own Philomena Begley.”
Eugene continued: “ We are also performing for the Irish Business Organisation of New York at Park Avenue, and at a function for the Young Irish Leaders of New York, which has approximately 1000 guests attending. We are also dancing at a few educational schools during our week long trip”.
The trip has been funded by numerous functions organised by the School and friends of the School.
The teachers also paid tribute to the local business community for their generous sponsorships of various events.
“Without all the support we have received over the last 6 months, this trip for the dancers would not have been possible,” Eugene said.
“We especially thank the local businesses who have sponsored events, gave donations, and provided their venues for the various functions.”
Chairman of Magherafelt District Council, Ian Milne, has congratulated the dancers on their achievement
Councillor Milne said: “It’s a fantastic achievement, not only for the dancers and their School, but also for the local communities who will be represented in the New York Parade. It is an excellent opportunity and promises to be a great experience for all those involved.
“Everyone has worked extremely hard over the last number of months planning and preparing for the trip and should be very proud of themselves. On behalf of myself, and as chairman of Magherafelt District Council, I wish them all a safe and enjoyable trip.”
The School of Dancing want this trip to be the first of many and it is hoped that they will forge links with a lot of different organisations during their stay.
A final night, prior to their departure, will be held in Magherafelt Parish Centre, on Saturday March 10th, where a ceili and entertainment night will be held, commencing at 8pm. The dancers will showpiece their performances for America. The main draw for the All Ireland Football & Hurling Final tickets will be held at this function.
This is an open night for everyone to come along and give the troupe of dancers a big send off, as they prepare for what undoubtedly will be a week to remember.