The Minstrel Boys Men’s Choir was formed in 1994 at the Irish Canadian Club of Hamilton. The choir has a solid backbone of seasoned veterans and a fine influx of young upstarts. Wearing their green knitted vests emblazoned with the a harp and shamrock crest on their chests, these noble gentleman have been sharing their talents with the community of Hamilton’s elderly on a regular basis and have been a regular feature at the Irish Club on Christmas and St. Patrick’s day.
The Choir’s driving force for over a decade has been past Irish Club president Dan Galvin. Dan recalls: “The first time I sang at the club was a pub night hosted by Harold Lavery, and I sang a few songs.” One night Dan overheard Ray McGorrian and Sean Byrne talking about forming a men’s choir. He advertised for singers in the newsletter, but got only one volunteer, Liam O’Halloran. Frustrated, he complained to Jack Daly. “Jack suggested that I would have to contact people, which I refused to do, so he did, and the next thing I knew we had about 18 or 20 choir members. So blame Jack Daly”. After another delay, the choir recruited Brian Jones (Pearl’s younger son and music teacher at St. Mary’s) as director. To this day, choir members like Malachy Byrne credit Dan’s energy with the longevity of the choir.
He got the choir going in 1994 and now the 20 or so members go out to sing at nursing and retirement homes twice a month. “We sing sometimes for an hour. It just depends on the MC and his jokes.” And they’re always called back for more singing engagements.
“There were two things I wanted to do when I became president,” Dan told the Hamilton Spectator in 2000. “I wanted to organize a men’s choir and I wanted to have an Irish library filled with all the great writers of Ireland”.