With a song on their lips and concert tickets to raffle off, the renowned Irish Tenors went to the largely Irish-American town of Breezy Point, Queens Thursday to let survivors of Hurricane Sandy know they weren’t forgetting them this Christmas season.
“Over the years, this community has come to our concerts and it’s our turn to give back to them,” said Ronan Tynan, one of the tenors. Another tenor, Finbar Wright–who comes from Kinsale, County Cork–said of the devastation, “I was shocked by it. We’ve had a lot of storms in Ireland but nothing like this.”
Dozens of displaced residents who were forced to leave their long-time homes after the storm turned out in the Colony Theatre for a free Christmas lunch sponsored by Operation Blessing of Virginia Beach and the Irish Tenors, who were set to perform Thursday night at Westbury Music Fair. The group raffled off 20 pair of tickets to Thursday’s concert.
Mary Ann Tosta, who has re-located to Bellmore, Long Island while her damaged home is evaluated, got emotional talking about the party…and the last, six weeks of her life. “It’s been devastating,” Tosta said. But referring to the Christmas festivities, she said, “This has brought us so much joy.”
PIX 11 met Patty Cook, one of the 111 homeowners who lost their house in a massive fire that spread across five streets. Cook told us how her children discovered a Nativity set in the burned-out family home. “They found Mary, Joseph, two camels, and the wise men,” Cook told PIX. She’s been staying in Marine Park but was happy to be back in Breezy Point. “The camaraderie here is just unbelievable,” Cook told PIX.
Tom Moore came to the lunch with his wife, Kathleen, and their daughter, Patricia. Moore told us he learned how to “couch surf” during the storm. When we asked him what he meant, he quipped, with a smile, “Watching TV, the next thing I know, me and the couch are going into another room.” Moore and his family spent the night in the attic, watching the water on the first floor rise five feet.
Moore’s daughter, Patricia Ward, is insulin-dependent for treatment of diabetes and had to race for the refrigerator to get her medicine. ” I said, ‘my insulin! I have to get my insulin out of the fridge!’ And then, when we were in the attic, the fridge toppled over,” Ward recalled.
The tenors sang “Jingle Bell Rock” and before they departed, received a big hand when they performed a crowd favorite, “Danny Boy.” Anthony Kearns, the third tenor, told PIX the group’s appearance here was the least it could do. “It’s to show solidarity. This is our fan base. These are people who supported us through the years.” Added Finbar Wright, “We have a long history of re-building our lives, and it’s wonderful to be here to bring warmth and maybe a bit of the luck of the Irish!”