A crowd of 250 packed a Connetquot Public Library event room Sunday afternoon as a four-person band playing a total of 10 different instruments flooded it with upbeat sounds.
It was only the last weekend in February, but the New Jersey-based Willie Lynch Band was kicking off St. Patrick’s Day for the Bohemia community.
The Irish band’s founder Willie Lynch, 66, of Whitehouse Station, N.J., said the band was happy to have an occasion to debut at the library.
"This is our first time performing at the library and we are very excited to be here for the kick off for St. Patrick's Day,” he said. “It took us two and a half hours to drive from New Jersey and we are happy to perform here today."
The band performed for about an hour and a half, dressed in green and playing Irish tunes including “Irish Molly” and “Irish Rover.”
Longtime Willie Lynch fans as well as first-time listeners filled the audience.
Peggy Sauve, 75, of Ridge, went on a cruise six years ago on which the band was performing and she instantly became a devoted fan.
Now, she drives with their CDs in her car and travels to New Jersey, where her sister lives, to see them play shows.
“My 70-year-old sister is an even bigger fan than I am,” Sauve said. “She goes to all their shows in Jersey, she is a groupie.”
The band, which has been together since the 1970s, features Lynch on the 12-string guitar, bass guitar, keyboards and singing lead vocals; Jimmy Cox, 59, of Bridgewater, N.J., playing guitar, mandolin and singing background vocals; Patrick Yorke, 55, of Edison, N.J., playing the accordion and singing background vocals; and Richard Perini, 72, of Hillsborough, N.J., playing saxophone, clarinet, keyboard, flute, tin whistle and singing background vocals.
As the crowd started to react to the music, clapping and tapping their feet from their seats, 71-year-old Anne Marie Hayes, of North Babylon, decided to get up and dance.
“The music is excellent,” she said. “I enjoy dancing to it. I love all types of music – Irish, rock and even rap.”
Annamarie Linguidi, 78, of Central Islip, agreed, adding that she thought Irish music was something everyone could enjoy.
“I am having a great time dancing,” she said. “I wish I could have brought my granddaughter today but she is away at college. She would have loved this music just as much as I love it.”
Lynch said he feels a sense of happiness when playing Irish music in front of an audience.
“Everyone is happy and people are jolly, always with a smile,” he said. “The music gives you a jolly good feeling because it is upbeat.”