in performance: solas

solas: mick mcauley, mairead phelan, winifred horan (on floor), seamus egan and eamon mcelholm. photo by robert hakalski.

solas: mick mcauley, mairead phelan, winifred horan (on floor), seamus egan and eamon mcelholm. photo by robert hakalski.

In warming last night’s Frankfort crowd at the Grand Theatre to the tales of unforgiving, unrequited and altogether unhealthy love that are like nutrients to traditional folk music, Solas singer Mairead Phelan introduced the unpronounceable Mollai na gCuach Ni Chuilleanain by revealing the tune’s ending.

“She doesn’t come back. And he dies. It’s another cheery number.”

Judging by the smiles that lit up among artists and audience members alike, there was a still degree of cheer to these dour sagas. Sure, Phelan’s light, almost fanciful vocal delivery kept the lament from turning too bleak. But there was also Solas’ vibrant acoustic spirit to contend with. Lively banjo, flute, accordion, guitar and extraordinary fiddle drove the music. So no matter how dark the lyrical scenario, the melodies and the instrumentation driving them were elegant and vibrantly alive. The lone contemporary device was the ambient hum of a single electric keyboard that three of the band’s five members, including Phelan, took turns on during the evening.

The bulk of the two-set performance drew heavily from Solas’ two newest albums, 2008’s For Love and Laughter and the upcoming The Turning Tide (due for release on Feb. 16).

At times, Solas paired itself down for a bare bones mood piece, like a show-opening slow air led by the light melancholy of flute by multi-instrumentalist Seamus Egan. In other instances, the band’s ensemble muscle was deployed, as when Egan, now on banjo with strings that burst before as intermission approached, took charge on Vital Mental Medicine. Similarly striking was a trio turn by the wonderfully animated fiddler Winfred Horan, who strayed briefly from Irish shores for the gypsy accented instrumental My Dream of You.

There were also moments when the Irish-American Solas nicely tipped the hat to their British folk counterparts by interpreting the late John Martyn’s 1975 arrangement of Spencer the Rover (sung by accordionist Mick McAuley) and early Richard Thompson (1972’s The Poor Ditching Boy, led by Phelan).

With music that was impeccably played and joyously displayed, Solas remained, in this performance, an Irish-based band with a very worldly reach.


The Boston Globe (Boston, MA) July 12, 2004 | Michael A. Busack, Globe Correspondent Dedicated to the advancement of pediatrics and neonatology, Dr. Peggy Herschel Mittendorf left her mark in medicine. She died Friday at her home in the Hyde Park section of Chicago after six years with breast cancer. She was 64.

Dr. Herschel, who used her maiden name professionally, was raised in Chicago and later graduated from Woodstock Country School in Vermont.

She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley in 1961 and from Tufts University School of Medicine in 1965.

She then trained in pediatrics and neonatology at the former Boston City Hospital.

She also worked at the Neponset Health Center and the former St. Margaret’s Hospital, both in Boston.

For the past 12 years, Dr. Herschel worked with the University of Chicago Children’s Hospital. here jaundice in newborns

Dr. Herschel also was the author or co-author of almost 40 scientific articles that are cited by Index Medicus, a bibliographic listing of references to articles from biomedical journals worldwide.

Her work established her as an international authority on the management of hyperbilirubinemia which may lead to jaundice in newborns and the prevention of kernicterus, a devastating neurological disease.

Dr. Herschel became associate professor of pediatrics at the University of Chicago and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Most of her work focused on improving the care of children of indigent mothers.

“She was a wonderful colleague of mine; my best friend,” said her husband of nearly 25 years, Dr. Robert Mittendorf. The couple on many occasions worked side by side in their research.

Though she had cancer, Dr. Herschel remained determined to accomplish as much as possible in her field. With her husband’s help, Dr. Herschel missed just eight days of work in the six years she had the disease. in our site jaundice in newborns

“She had incredible will power. She would get chemotherapy on the same days that she would go to work. She was an inspiration to her family and her colleagues . . . she was courageous,” Dr. Mittendorf said.

In addition to her husband, Dr. Herschel leaves two sons, Robert William of Chicago and Jeffrey David of Chandler, Ariz. She also leaves a daughter, Inga Noelle of Chicago; her parents, Gladys Herschel of Washington, D.C., and A.J. Herschel of Sarasota, Fla.; and her biological father, James Mulvey of Milton; three sisters, Janet O’Brien of Baltimore, Ellen Cresap of Midland Park, N.J., and Jane Quiles of Hawthorne, N.J.; and a brother, Michael Mulvey of Milton.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. in First Parish of Milton on Friday.

Michael A. Busack, Globe Correspondent

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