Irish Rovers, Dooleys headline Fitzgerald’s St. Pat fest

The Shannon Rovers are always on the move. They’re the official band of Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade and they provided music as Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Jimmy Fallon and some 3,000 other people took the Polar Plunge.

One of their favorite places to rove is Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn. “It’s a neighborhood place and it’s known for its music,” said Bill McTighe, band manager and a piper with the group since 1967. “Whenever you play in a place that’s known for having good music, it makes you feel good.”

About a dozen members of the 80-plus person group will perform at the Fitzgerald’s 34th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival on Saturday, March 15. They are slated to play inside the club as well as in the outdoor tent, starting at 8 p.m.

The group will perform traditional Irish bagpipe music, including “The Wearing of the Green,” “All Hail to St. Patrick” and “The Minstrel Boy.” “While you may not know those tunes by their name,” McTighe said, “most of them are recognizable when we play them.”

McTighe noted that they sometimes get requests from listeners but they can’t often fulfill them. “We’ve only got nine notes with no sharps and flats,” he explained.

Of course, the Dooley Brothers will perform at the St. Patrick’s Day Festival at Fitzgerald’s. We say “of course” because this will be the group’s 32nd year participating in the event, according to Jim Dooley.

Dooley praised the venue, “It’s run by a family. Bill Fitzgerald is a great person with great musical taste,” he said, jokingly adding, “because he hires us.”

The Dooley Brothers will perform hour-long sets at 7:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m. inside the club. They will sing and play traditional Irish music as well as Irish sing-alongs, including “The Black Velvet Band.” They will also perform songs from the ’50s and ’60s, as well as original tunes.

The Dooley Brothers take requests. Dooley playfully noted, “If we know it, we’ll do it. If we don’t know it, we’ll do it for money.”

All three brothers sing and play instruments. Dooley, who lives in the River Forest house where he grew up, plays guitar and banjo. Bill Dooley plays guitar and Mike Dooley plays bass guitar. They will be joined at Fitzgerald’s by drummer Ed Breckenfeld and guitarist John Rice.

The full day of festival activities begins in the heated tents with Mayer School Stepdancers with Paul and Mary McHugh performing from 2-6 p.m. The Chicago-based hillbilly/rockabilly/folk rock/psychedelic/punk band Cannonball takes over at 6:30 p.m. for a one-hour set. Fred Eaglesmith’s Traveling Steam Show is onstage in the tent from 8-10 p.m. and the Westies take over at 10:30 p.m.

Cannonball moves inside the club at 11 p.m., following the Dooley Brothers’ last set.

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