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The Reporter, Gananoque, Ont.
August 8, 2001

McDermott Returns to Festival
Coast to coast favourite says he loves the outdoor venue of the islands concert

By Laurie Weir

John McDermott's voice is well-known in Gananoque and on August 12th, he will perform at the Festival of the Islands.

This year marks his third appearance here in as many years.

"I love the outdoor venue," said Mc. McDermott from his home in Toronto.  "It's especially fun when you have all those boats pull up to the shore and shout 'hello'."

Fans will be treated to a selection of tunes from his new CD, entitled "A Day to Myself."

"I'll be doing lots of tracts from my new CD," he said.  "there is some traditional tunes, some folk, contemporary...a whole gamut of songs."

He says his target audience is the "entire family.  There's something for everyone."

Mr. McDermott has become a favourite of audiences from coast to coast.

He has sold millions of CDs.  It started with his first, Danny Boy, in 1992.

Since the airing of the Irish Tenors in 1999 and early 2000, Mr. McDermott has been pursuing a demanding solo schedule.  His new CD was release earlier this year and he has plans that include several concerts and symphonies.

He is also working on a television show.

Mr. McDermott became even more well-known after his PBS smash hit, The Irish Tenors.

During his fall tour, Mr. McDermott is going to highlight the war amps program because veterans issues are close to his heart.

"My father (Peter) was a war vet and it was a big focus point for him.  He passed that on to us as he's always been a great supporter of the war amps."

He has established the Hope McDermott Fun, (Hope McDermott was his mother) as a central, charitable organization for all of his efforts on behalf of homeless veterans.

The Hope McDermott Fund supports McDermott House, a transitional veterans' cooperative named in his honour in Washington.

Mr. McDermott also recently helped establish The Hope McDermott Centre in Boston, a walk-in multiples service facility for homeless veterans.

If he wasn't a performer, Mr. McDermott says he'd like to become more involved with war veterans.

"I would definitely become involved with something to do with vets and or seniors," he said, if he had to choose a different profession.

"Because I think the regular people of society are where you can go so much information....from their life experiences and they all deserve a better life and more care than what they're presently receiving."

He comes from a large family...he's the ninth of 12 children and in 1965, his family emigrated from Scotland to Canada.  His parents are both deceased.

"I sort of fell into music." Mr. McDermott said.  "My whole family is very musical and Friday nights were musical adventures in our house."

His singing was nurtured at St. Michael's Choir School in Toronto and his affinity for both the Celtic tradition and North American standards is a direct product of his family's transatlantic voyage.

Prior to his singing career, Mr. McDermott worked at a Toronto daily newspaper for eight years.  His job was in the circulation department.

"But performing is where I'd much rather be," he laughed.

He has spent a lot of time on the East Coats and plans to work with Jimmy Rankin, who has recently gone solo after a death in the band The Rankins.

"Jimmy and I plan to work together real soon," said Mr. McDermott.

But in the meantime, fans in Gananoque are in for a real treat, he says.

Hios best advice:  "Don't forget your bug spray....but please, bring your whole's going to be a great night."