Cherry Valley’s Terry Brennan Combines Music With Charity
Saturday, January 26, 2013
He entertains with a steady concert schedule throughout Massachusetts and New England, from Worcester to Boston, to his birth place in Leicester to his current home on Cape Cod, with a smooth mix of Irish, folk, rock, soft rock and country music, and, in the process, has raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Jimmy Fund through his performances since 2008.
"Music is the one constant in this world that people can agree on. Not everyone likes the same types or styles of music, but it's nearly impossible to find someone who doesn't like some kind of music," Brennan says.
He has loved listening to music since a very early age. Born in 1966, the youngest of seven children, he grew up listening to a wide variety of different musical styles.
"Early on it was Irish, folk and rock, but my love of music soon started to expand and in my early to mid teens I developed a liking for country music as well as southern rock, soft rock, easy listening, Motown and even a bit of reggae," he says.
In 1980, three of his brothers, Tom, Jim and Fred, helped form an Irish/folk band called The Celtic Standard.
"Although I was only a teenager, I would go and listen to them with my folks as often as possible, and quickly grew to love the music and the thought of being an entertainer/musician," Brennan says of those days.
In the meantime, he began taking banjo lessons, and his brother Jim taught him how to play guitar, an instrument he quickly fell in love with.
The Celtic Standard became very popular, playing venues across New England, but in 1983 tragedy struck, and Jim passed away.
"After Jim's passing, and with dates already booked for the band, I was asked to join, which I did willingly. It was tough trying to fill the shoes of a great showman like my brother Jim, but I gave it my all and there's been no looking back since," says Brennan.
The band continued to play its classic blend of Irish and folk music, but Brennan wanted to expand his repertoire. He soon began playing solo shows in local Leicester bars like Hennessy's and Breezy Bends.
In 2000, Brennan bought the Tipperary Pub on Millbury Street. Meanwhile, The Celtic Standard was reduced to just Terry and his brothers Tom and Fred; as a result they were soon rebranded the Brennan Brothers. After 2006, when the Tipperary Pub closed, Brennan moved out to the Cape and became a full-time entertainer.
During his tenure as a full-time musician, he has begun to do something more than just entertain people. In the summer of 2008, Brennan was struck by the generosity of a kid he heard about while listening to a Red Sox game. The 9-year-old boy had raised $900 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The story inspired him and, as of August 15 of that year, Brennan began to put out a tip bucket with all tips to be donated to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund. He now continues this practice every night, and it has been a wild success.
"It's been one the most heart-warming things I've ever been involved with! To see the generosity of common people in a pub or restaurant setting reaching out to help others, it's been fantastic!" he exclaims.
In the first year, the amount of money donated reached $17,068.15, and each year since the total has exceed $20,000. The grand total is now over $93,000 and counting. Brennan hopes to soon break the $100,000 mark and see how far it can go. He keeps an up-to-date tally of the total amount of money raised on his website.
"Any amount of money, whether it be the price of a drink, the change in your pocket, a buck or two, or more, it all adds up to helping to find a cure," he tells his audience.
Every Monday you can see Terry Brennan at the Black Rose on State Street in Boston. In Worcester, he plays at The Banner on Green Street on Tuesdays and at Funky Murphy's on Shrewsbury Street the first and third Wednesdays of every month. On the weekends you can often see him at Fiddlers Green on Temple Street and the St. Charles in Millbury. He is also a regular at a number of venues on Cape Cod in Yarmouth, Dennisport, Harwich and Hyannis, and will even make the occasional trek to Connecticut and Vermont.
He has two CDs recorded live at shows on the Cape. He and his brothers also have a CD together released in 2000 called "20 Years of Miles and Smiles."
You can see Terry as a solo act, as part of the Brennan Bros with Tom and Fred, or now as 1/4 of a fun project called The Paddy/Murphy Quartet on the Cape, but no matter where, with whom or for whom he's playing, he still loves it just the same and hopes others do as well.
"It's the greatest life anyone could ask for! To be able to make a living, traveling from place to place, meeting new people, making new friends and doing something I absolutely love, what more could anyone ask for? To help someone forget their troubles or to get over a really bad day and put a smile on their face by singing a song, that's an awesome feeling!"
And it doesn't hurt that he's doing it all for a good cause.
"With the help of the Jimmy Fund and the Boston Red Sox, the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
is striving for a cure for cancer, and they can use all of the help that we can give them."
To learn more about Terry Brennan or to hear some of his music, visit his website.
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