The Frank Rooney Band

Twith guests: Accordion Player Sean O’Donnell and The Murphy Irish Dancers

Barbara Southworth was born in Springfield MA, into a family that loved music. “Everybody played something; Dad sang, and Mom made us practice.” Barb started piano lessons at the age of seven. Although trained as a classical musician, Barb has taken detours into folk, jazz and ragtime, coming happily home to Irish traditional music. Barb says her maternal grandmother (Mae O’Farrell) influenced her Irish piano more than any other source. “I can still see my grandmother sitting at the old upright playing away, foot tapping, and I think: if anyone saw Mae, they would know I’m hers.”

Lew Milligan was born in Albany, California. He started playing the violin at the age of 7. There was always music in the house and his older sisters were already playing music. Ruth played the piano and piano accordion and Molly played violin. At age 10 Lew was playing music with his sisters at family functions and parties. He gave it up for a time, but picked up his fiddle again to play traditional Irish music when his daughter began step dancing in 1984. He has been learning the 2-row button accordion and has a B/C tuned Paolo Soprani. His father was born in Co. Down, Ireland and mother is from Plymouth, England.

Frank Rooney was born in Rathfriland, Co. Down, Ireland. He inherited a great singing tradition from his Uncle Willie Kennedy from Easkey, Co. Sligo, Ireland. He later took up the piano accordion which is very popular in Northern Ireland for traditional Irish music.. (The most popular tuning is a true musette sound made popular by the famous Jimmy Shand of Scotland with most boxes having an L-M-M-M treble reed configuration.)

Frank immigrated to America about 10 years ago where Lew and Barbara joined his band. Shortly thereafter Frank introduced them to playing for all sorts of events … from house parties to the San Francisco Ethnic Dance festival for the Murphy Irish dance school. Frank can sing a song for every county in Ireland (32). Like they say in Ireland, “Frank’s great Craic” which means he is a joy to be around, especially when he is singing and playing. Frank plays a Hohner Atlantic IVN Mussette accordion

Sean O’Donnell is 11-years old, a 5th grader at St. Gabriel School (in SF), and lives in Pacifica, CA.  He has been playing the C#D 2-row button accordion for 2-1/2 years, and his teacher is Miliosa Lundy (from Co. Leitrim, Ireland). In addition to playing traditional Irish tunes on his accordion, Sean enjoys Irish dancing.  He has danced with the Boyle School of Irish Dancing in Pacifica for 3 years.  Sean also enjoys playing soccer, playing baseball and skateboarding.  Sean plays a C#/D Cairdin accordion that was the only accordion made in Ireland until last year. “Cairdin” means accordion in Irish. It is a lovely box with handmade Antonelli reeds. It is a 2-voice with 8 basses.

Frank will also be joined by The Murphy Irish Dancers from the Murphy School of Irish Dance in San Francisco. Hold on to your seat, this will be a great show.