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Local Irish fiddler plays gigs while studying medicine

Mantua resident Patrick Glennan reflects on a unique hobby

Mantua resident Patrick Glennan grew up with traditional Irish music filling his home.

With his father learning Irish accompaniment on guitar, Glennan expressed interest in being taught the tunes. He picked up the Irish fiddle, playing the music for 15 years from the age of 7, when he got lessons from Kathy DeAngelo, the wife of his father’s teacher, Dennis Gormley.

“The music has a rich history which underscores it at all times,” Glennan said. “There is a huge amount of respect for those who composed the music we play – if we know who did – and the lineage of where we have our versions of the tune.

“Likewise, there is respect for the musicians themselves and what they contribute to the music through their playing,” he continued. “While I did not realize these things at the time when I first began, it has certainly been something which I reflect on often. It makes me feel extremely fortunate to have been able to participate these last many years and (meet) countless great friends along the way.”

Growing up, Glennan started to compete in music competitions. He entered the international All-Ireland Fleadh Under 15 division in 2015, after placing second in the mid-Atlantic regional competition. That opened up the opportunity for Glennan to compile his music on CDs, including a charity version that benefitted the Mercy Center in Thailand.

Special to The Sun: Mantua resident Patrick Glennan grew up learning the Irish fiddle. He now studies medicine at the University of Pennsylvania while playing gigs in the area.

Glennan has played Irish music sessions with other local musicians at various restaurants, weddings, wineries and other events. A Gloucester Catholic graduate and current student at the University of Pennsylvania, Glennan’s passion does not stop at Irish music: His interest in a medical career is just as prominent. But he’s not leaving the fiddle behind.

“Even during my busiest times, I try to find a few minutes to play the fiddle or at least to listen to music,” he noted. “I would like to be able to continue to share the music and the culture with people for as long as I am able, (but) I know that I will need to sacrifice time in order to pursue my career in medicine.”

Glennan relates and connects both his passions, noting how they both focus on giving back and helping others.

“Irish music is about community, culture, and joining together to share in emotional expression” he explained. “At its heart, it is about people. Medicine is all about people: the patient and their families and friends. It isn’t too far a stretch to see why I have been so interested in both.”

Glennan’s next show is set for Jessie Creek Winery in the Cape May Courthouse on April 23, from 2 to 5:30 p.m.

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