Rocking St. Patrick


Never been a fan of St. Patrick’s Day (sorry, Ireland), or of the saintly day of any country, my ‘own’ countries of Canada and England included.

Brought up in England but never celebrated St. George’s Day. Had to look it up to know when it was. (Sorry, George.) (April 23rd if you want to put it on your calendar.) When I visited Ethiopia, I found George doing double nationalistic duty as Ethiopia’s patron saint, too, and using that role to do something really useful, namely, decorating bottles of St. George beer. (Liked his amber best).

Lived in Canada most of my life and never celebrated … er … er …

(Quick, Canadians – name our patron saint. Buy yourself a pint if you said St. Jean de Brebeuf. Bonus pint if you know Jean’s Special Day is … October 26th. We – i.e. us Canadians – are also under the care and guidance of St. Joseph, whose Special Day is March 19th. Whoops. Just missed it. Did anyone out there celebrate? Didn’t think so. Neither did I. Maybe next year.)

I have nothing against patron saint days really. I just find false and unpleasant the sentimentality and hearty jingoism they sometimes foster, and also just can’t bring myself to care much about St. George or St. Jean de Brebeuf, or, come to that, St. Cyprian of Carthage (Algeria, in case you don’t know), St. Henry of Uppsala (Finland), or St. Andrew (Barbados, as well as, of course, Scotland), let alone when their Special Days are celebrated.

So why am I rattling on about saints’ days?

Because, if nothing else, they’re a good hook to hang a celebration on, especially St. Patrick’s Day, which the band I play with, Stepping Out, took advantage of last week, with a dance at St. Stephen Legion, New Brunswick, on the U.S. border.

We’re hardly a stadium band (just five of us – Tony on the drums, John on guitar, Dave and Julie doing vocals, and me on keyboard and occasional sax and clarinet but not at the same time), but we got the hall bopping with our usual mix of old rock ‘n’ roll, a bit of country, a few standards and oldies (we’re nothing if not eclectic), plus of course a bunch of Irish songs.

Maybe later this year we’ll have a St. Jean de Brebeuf dance, the playlist for which could include … er … hmmm … Un Canadien Errant? (Nice song. Nice waltz.) The Hockey Song? (No comment.) The Huron Carol? (Bit too seasonal.) O Canada? (Not very danceable but I suppose it could be a sing-a-long.)

Suggestions, anyone?



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