Category: Archive

Songs from the Irish heart

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Having sung professionally for a number of years, Maloney recently joined the Songs of Love Foundation, a charity that commissions professional-quality, personalized songs for sick youngsters.
Not surprisingly, Maloney and her fellow singers have been nominated New Yorkers of the week by the local news channel New York 1.
Maloney got involved with the Queens-based charity after two singing firefighters from Brooklyn, Vernon Cherry and Leon Smith, were killed in the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. They had recorded a song for Crystal Ann Perez, a 7-year-old leukemia patient at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx, in August 2001.
Just over a year later, Maloney stepped in to take their place. Last week, she sang her first song, also at Montefiore.
“We sang to a 17-year-old girl named Ernestine who is on dialysis, waiting for a kidney transplant,” Maloney said. “And some firefighters did the backing vocals. The kids love it when we sing for them.”
Maloney’s singing career started a long time ago. She first recalls singing in Galway for her grandmother, a Gaelic speaker. Maloney’s mother is from Galway and her father, a retired police officer, is from Tipperary.
“She taught me some songs,” said Maloney of her grandmother, adding that the singing brought together the visiting American children with the local Irish boys and girls.
Later, as an 18-year-old, she was snapped up by Johnny Egan and sang for several years with the legendary Johnny Egan and the Irish Tradewinds in the Bronx and beyond.
Songs of Love tailors each song to the recipient. A profile sheet is sent to the children and they fill it in, answering questions about their families, and their favorite movies, sports, television programs.
Then a lyricist and a musician provide the music and talented vocalists like Maloney bring the performance to the bedside of the person.
Maloney, in her work with the NYPD’s ceremonial unit, attended many funerals and memorial services after Sept 11 and also sang at Yankee Stadium.
John Beltzer founded the Songs of Love Foundation, which is a non-profit, Queens-based charity, to create professional-quality, personalized songs for children who are seriously ill. For more information, call 1 (800) 960-SONG or www.songsoflove.org.

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