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The sound reverberates off the floor-to-ceiling mirrors, the chandeliers, the hardwood floors. Violins, drums, a piano fill the Gilded Age mansion’s parlor on 5th Avenue, now the home of the American Irish Historical Society. In a connecting room, in between an oyster bar and a bar-bar, are the woodwinds. I stand looking at the oboist for the longest time—I used to play oboe. Walking down the fan of marble steps into the subdued, grotto-like...