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The Salem Evening News
March 7, 2001

Sounds of Ireland: Celebrated tenor John McDermott to perform at Salem High School for church fund-raiser

By Sheila Barth

SALEM -- Most people know renowned Irish tenor John McDermott as one of the three internationally acclaimed Irish tenors, and some may recognize him from performances at the North Shore Music Theatre in Beverly.

But few will remember him years ago as the surprising young tenor, who, at the annual St. Patrick's Day political bash at the Commodore Restaurant in Beverly, out sang the governor himself.

McDermott's clear tenor will rise at Salem High School Wednesday night, not just to bring tears to the eyes singing Irish favorites like "Danny Boy." He'll also perform songs that highlight milestones in people's lives, such as love, family and loss. He tells stories about each song to drive home its impact and meaning.

He sings "One Small Star," a tragic song about a Scottish kindergartener whom a mad gunman shot to death with her teacher and classmates in the classroom. The song, written by the girl's grieving mother, reflects her hope that her daughter is now a bright star, whose shine reflects eternally in the sky.

He also sings favorites from World War II, such as "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda," songs about the elderly, and his Celtic heritage.

McDermott's father, Peter, a clarion tenor and British Royal Air Force veteran of World War II, infused him with his love of singing and reverence for military veterans, for whom McDermott has funded shelters, programs, and raised public awareness.

Born outside Glasgow, Scotland, the ninth of 12 children of Irish parents, he later moved with his family to Canada in 1965 at age 12. He and his wife live in Toronto today.