Green-clad, drunken twenty-somethings falling out of taxi cabs on Clark Street might be a more familiar association with St. Patrick’s Day, though it began as a solemn religious occasion honoring the man who Christianized the Emerald Isle. According to tradition, Patrick was a Roman citizen from a noble family in Gaul who was captured by pirates and sold into slavery. After six years of tending sheep on lonely hillsides in Ireland, he experienced a vision telling him to flee. He walked buck naked to the coast, boarded a ship and returned home. He later went back to Ireland to preach the Gospel.
Stateside, St. Patrick’s Day has less to do with visions of angels and evangelism, and more to do with America’s debt to the Irish. It is estimated some 40,000,000 Americans are of Irish descent. Hence St. Patrick’s Day has become the occasion for anything Irish, and perhaps a diversion for the winter-weary.
It is in that spirit of celebrating all things Irish that WFMT does St. Patrick’s Day. Composers love folk music for its ability to evoke the flavor of a country. Ireland is no exception. Join WFMT all day on Monday, March 17 for everything Irish in classical music.