Plymouth, N.H.—John McDermott of Irish Tenors and solo fame is a long way from the man for whom singing was a hobby less than 10 years ago. McDermott was discovered quite by chance when he belted out an impromptu rendition of “Danny Boy” at a company party.
The Silver Center for the Arts at Plymouth State University will present John McDermott in a single performance, April 29 at 7 p.m. in Hanaway Theatre.
McDermott started his professional singing career in his own band and as an opening act for the Chieftains, but it was The Irish Tenors 1999 PBS performance that catapulted him into an international touring and recording phenomenon. His own PBS special, John McDermott: A Time to Remember followed, as did his ranking as the best selling solo artist in Canada.
“I grew up singing, but I thought everybody grew up singing,” he said. “Who is the greatest singer I ever knew? My dad. Who am I emulating? My dad. He could tell a story in song, better than anybody that I ever heard, and I heard a lot of good ones. But he had this magic and a pure love of singing. And that’s what I am after,” McDermott said.
His a cappella rendition of “Danny Boy” is thought by many to be the definitive performance of this iconic tune. “The Dreamer” is dedicated to longtime friend Sen. Edward Kennedy, at whose memorial service John performed at the request of the family.
McDermott’s success has allowed him to express his commitment to veterans’ causes, which have always been an important theme in his music. “Saying thank you doesn’t end the day after you say it. It’s something that should be a continuum. As we speak, we have a new generation of veterans,” McDermott said. In recognition of his dedication to the needs of veterans he was awarded the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s “Bob Hope Award.”
“Legend” might not be a title John McDermott would readily embrace, but his accomplishments have become legendary in recording industry lore.
Tickets for John McDermott’s performance at Plymouth State are $35-25 for adults, $33-23 for seniors and $25-15 for youth at the Silver Center Box Office; (603) 535-ARTS (2787) or (800) 779-3869.
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