AN LEADING concert violinist from Ireland who was handpicked by the Biden family to play at the President-elect's inaugural mass is planning to wow audiences with two classic Irish pieces of music.
Patricia Treacy, from Blackrock, Co Louth, has been busy practicing in Chicago before travelling to Washington DC for what she described to the Irish Examiner as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to perform for the inaugural mass for the President-elect and his amazing family which I have become very close to,” she said.
“I am hugely honoured to be a part of this momentous historical occasion.”
There had been some fears that inauguration would have to take place without any live music because of the riots witnessed in the Capitol earlier this month.
However, those fears have since been allayed with Treacy set to play using a 315-year-old Stradivarius violin, loaned from Joe Bein and Company in Chicago, estimated to be worth $4m (€3.3m).
Treacy is a favourite of the Biden family, having performed for them on a number of occasions, including during an official St Patrick’s Day celebration at the then-Vice President Biden’s official residence at One Naval Observatory in 2016.
She also played during an official state visit to Ireland as Vince President later that year as part of a trip that saw Biden visit his ancestral home in Carlingford, Co Louth.
Treacy was also on hand again when President Obama surprised Vice President Biden with the Medal of Freedom in January 2017.
"He's so down to earth, so genuine, so lovely," Treacy said of Biden. "I'm so fond of him, he's incredible."
There will be a distinctly Irish feel to Treacy’s performance with the violinist set to play to Irish pieces during the mass - “The Proclamation” and “Ag Críost an Síol.”
Ag Críost an Síol is an Irish hymn dating back to 1916.
An Irish priest, Father Michael Sheehan, penned the original tune while Seán Ó Riada went on to add Irish language lyrics to the piece in 1968.
Treacy previously performed The Proclamation during the 1916 Centenary Commemorations at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin when President Michael D. Higgins laid a wreath to honour those who fought and died in the Rising
Speaking to The Clare Champion, Patrick Cassidy, the Irish composer behind the piece, said he was “delighted” it was being used at such an “historic event” and looked forward to seeing Biden in Ireland very soon.
“This inauguration is particularly special, as President Biden brings a message of hope and unity to Americans at what is a very difficult time.
“I’m sure we can also look forward to him visiting his ancestral home in Ireland as soon as it’s safe to travel again.”