John McDermott shares highlights from his 20 year career
The impact of that moment on the evening news [with Peter Mansbridge] made it impossible for EMI to keep up with the demand for the CD- John McDermott
Canada's Scottish-Canadian Irish tenor John McDermott is celebrating 20 years of his professional singing career.
He's winding up a 12 city tour of Western Canada in Winnipeg at the Burton Cummings Theatre on Friday April 11.
SCENE asked him to share some highlights over his illustrious career:
In 1989 on a trip organized by the Toronto Sun, I was on a cruise called The Floating Film Festival. While on this cruise I was singing in a karaoke contest and the machine broke down. Rather than stop I simply sang without any backup. Two gentlemen, Bill Ballard and Michael Cohl told me after my performance that if I ever did anything with my voice I should give them a call. In 1992 when I recorded the Danny Boy album I did just that and then it all started to happen.
Then in the fall of 1993 after incredible sales of the Danny Boy CD the next thing I knew I was the opening act for the greatest Irish traditional band in the world, The Chieftains. This introduced me to Chieftains fans, to the rest of Canada and it gave me my first taste of performing live in front of an audience in every major performing arts centre in the country.
The Danny Boy CD was released on November 10, 1992 and on November 11 Peter Gzowski played 3 tracks from the disc. EMI had pressed and released 2000 copies. By Christmas it was at 25,000. A former St. Michael's Choir school graduate Paul McGrath was a producer at the CBC. He was moving to South Africa. Before he left Paul decided to do a 10 minute segment on me, my family and the CD.
I performed my first show in Toronto at The Royal Alexandra Theatre in November of 1994. My family was there. I was busy getting ready for the show when my father arrived and unbeknownst to me he suffered a fall in front of theatre. He was taken to St Michael's Hospital for stitching and patchwork. My brother and mother went with him.
Meanwhile, I had told my manager where my parents were sitting because I wanted to put a spotlight on them in the second half. This prompted him to immediately go search for parent lookalikes to put in those seats since he had not told me what had happened since he didn't want to upset me before the show. His search was futile….
Fortunately my father checked himself out, refusing to stay for observation so he arrived in time to see the second half. When the spotlight hit my parents they stood and waved at all in attendance as proud as could be. I did wonder why he had a bandage around his head. Later he shared the story with me and anyone who would listen.
Other highlights include the success of McDermott House Canada Foundation in support of the Veterans in K Wing at Sunnybrook and Hospice care from coast to coast; John McDermott House in Washington DC - it's a transitional home for homeless veterans established in 1999; The Hope McDermott Chronic Care Unit attached to the New England Shelter for Homeless Veterans and the St. Johns Food bank in Worcester Massachussetts which serves 500 meals a day to the needy.
It is so gratifying to know that I am able to honour my father's wish that if I ever should achieve a level of success in this business I would give back to Canada and to the Veteran community for their service to us and our nation.
Hear John McDermott on the Weekend Morning Show with Terry MacLeod on Sunday, April 6 at 7:40. Don't miss his performance at the Burton Cummings Theatre on Friday April 11.