BETHLEHEM Many artists find their vision and make connections while in school, but few get the early start John Haggerty and Mike DeAngelis did. They’ve been playing together for 40 years, and it all started at Saint Thomas the Apostle Church in Delmar.
Now, for the second year in a row, the two musicians are coming back to Saint Thomas the Apostle School with their band, Hair of the Dog, to hold a benefit concert.
Haggerty graduated from the school in 1973, but DeAngelis didn’t go to Saint Thomas. His family did worship at the church, however. According to Haggerty, the pair began playing together at the church’s folk group band during mass, and they have been playing together ever since.
“It’s pretty nostalgic to come back here,” he said.
Haggerty said he told the band at last year’s concert how, on the same stage they were about to play, he won the school’s talent show 40 years ago playing a song on the guitar.
He now plays acoustic guitar, accordion, banjo and sings, while DeAngelis does acoustic guitar, bodhran (a type of drum) and vocals. The band consists of four other members, Rick Bedrosian, Larry Packer, Eric Finn and Scott Apicelli.
Formed in 1993, the band went on to release 10 albums, including “At The Parting Glass,” “Let It Flow” and “Donegal,” while performing on both sides of the Atlantic from Chicago, Buffalo, New York, Boston and Florida to Ireland.
The latest Hair of the Dog album will be released this St. Patrick’s Day, and their next local concert will be on Saturday, March 31, at the Elsmere American Legion.
Sister Mary Frederick Coyne was principal of the school during Haggerty’s time there, and retired in 2000. She thinks it’s “marvelous” he came back to support his old elementary school.