Talk of the Town – by Mary McKenna

Anyone looking to trade in those winter blues for a wee bit o’ green-fueled fun is in for a treat. Hudson musicians Pat and Nikki Custy will have your toes tapping as they perform traditional Irish music with their band, “Pitch the Peat,” at Stone Mad Pub in Cleveland from 1-4 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day. “Pitch the Peat” features Nikki on fiddle and Pat on flute along with fellow musicians Ruairi Hurley on guitar and Brendan Carr on bodhran.

You may remember Nikki as a longtime Talk of the Town correspondent, but she and her husband’s first love is Irish ballads and instrumentation. Pat grew up in County Clare in Western Ireland where his uncle Frank was headmaster of a school that emphasized Irish music and sports along with academics. “I grew up going to the Hibernian Club in Akron where my Suzuki lessons gave way to traditional Irish music,” Nikki  said. “After living in Galway and meeting Pat, I got into Irish music in a big way.”

The couple has been playing “in various iterations of ‘Pitch the Peat’ for over 20 years,” according to Nikki, in addition to other groups such as “Brace Yourself Bridget,” and newer projects such as “Custy & McNamara” and “Emigrant’s Wake.”

“Custy and McNamara,” featuring Nikki on guitar and Samantha McNamara on fiddle, will also perform on St. Patrick’s Day at Gandalf’s Pub in Valley City, from 5-8 p.m.

Over the holiday season, the Custys had the opportunity to return to where their story began.

“We showed our three boys [Sean, 17; Patrick, 15; and Kieran, 13] some of our haunts from our college days in Galway. Then, we managed to get out on our own for a couple hours and sit in on a traditional Irish music session at one of our favorite music pubs,” Nikki said.

The couple’s Irish heritage and music appreciation is something she said the couple tries to pass on to their kids, who will occasionally join them at sessions they play at Gormley’s Pub in Rocky River or the Hibernian Club in Akron. In the spirit of so many Irish proverbs and blessings, our thanks to you, Custy clan, for bringing the sound of Irish music and the lilt of Irish laughter to all our hearts!

Speaking of shamrockers, the St. Mary LAM club is gearing up for its annual St. Patrick’s Day party, which will be held at Twinsburg’s Hilton Garden Inn on Tuesday, March 14.

The lifelong adult ministry know as LAM began 23 years ago when a group of St. Mary parishioners over the age of 55 decided to come together in an effort to live a more vibrant life through spiritual growth, service to others and a healthy dose of good, clean fun. Feast-day parties, such as this one, first began in the church hall and were gradually moved to larger venues as membership grew.

This year’s party will include entrainment by the Irish band Celtic Rush. LAM member Marilyn Orr said she especially looks forward to the music. “We really enjoyed their traditional instruments and lovely vocals last year,” she said. As for this year, “I think we can expect at least one sing-a-long,” Marilyn predicted. She also mentioned that those who come “wearing the green” receive prizes and of course, “bragging rights until next year.”

LAM parishioner Kathy Losey takes comfort in the fellowship. “It’s a wonderful gathering of friends old and new,” she said. “An evening for the Irish, and those who wish they were!”

Hudsonites reached out in ways big and small to “make kindness the norm” – the theme of this year’s Random Acts of Kindness week – during the city’s weeklong celebration last month. It all began with Mayor Jeff Ansevino’s proclamation and challenge to show kindness in everyday life.

Taking that challenge to heart, a group of Western Reserve Academy students used some dorm time to make “kindness kits” that were available for children to pick up at the Hudson Library during RAK week. The kits contained embroidery thread with instructions to make friendship bracelets. Local pre-K and elementary school children, meanwhile, did their part to fill “kindness mailboxes” with notes of thanks and friendship and peppered the city with signs promoting kind attitudes and actions.

“The students drew themselves doing acts of kindness,” said McDowell Principal Beth Trivelli. “Anything that would make others smile as well as remind everyone to ‘be kind always.’”

East Woods Assistant Principal Jeff Morris said the week served as a celebration and reminder for students and staff of all the ways we can be a positive influence in each other’s lives. Students learned that “even one small act of kindness can mean a great deal to somebody,” he said.

Kids weren’t the only ones catching the kindness bug. The Shop Local Shop Hudson team expressed thanks to local business owners and those who support them by “popping” into local businesses throughout the week with cake pops, hand-delivering 96 total treats.

It sure is sweet when we choose to be kind as residents Tara and Patrick Gallegos did earlier this year. After a recent storm, the couple noticed that a downed tree blocked the driveway of an elderly neighbor. Tara said she’d never met the woman but knew she lived alone. The morning following the storm, Patrick told his family, “If that tree is still down when I get home from work, we’re gonna cut it up and see if this lady needs some help.”

Together, with five of their children, Tara and Patrick made quick work of cutting, clearing and stacking the wood. Their 10-year-old son, Jacob, admitted, “It was hard work, but it felt good to help.” His younger, 7-year-old brother, Titus, liked being in the right place at the right time. “I was happy to get to help her, and I was happy that she was happy,” he said. Most poignant was the children’s realization that in doing this necessary act of kindness for a stranger they were strangers no more. “Now we know who she is!” Titas said with satisfaction.

Thank you, Gallegos family, not only for being such good neighbors, but also for showing the rest of us how to truly see and serve one another with kind hearts and ready hands.

Editor’s Note: Hudson native and longtime resident Mary McKenna will be penning Talk of the Town, sharing what’s exciting and/or noteworthy around town. To get in on the fun, email your news, photos and contract information to 

Ryan Lorenzo shows off his RAK
poster work. Photo submitted.
Hudsonites Pat and Nikki Custy visit Pat’s homeland, Ireland,
with their boys, Sean, Patrick and Kieran. Photo submitted.