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The Toronto Sun - October 27, 1999

An Event to Remember

By Jane Stevenson

If you're flipping TV channels on Remembrance Day, don't be surprised to see Toronto tenor John McDermott performing at the U.S. ceremony in Washington D.C.

McDermott, who's sold about one million copies of his traditional Celtic albums over the last four years, has been asked to sing at the Vietnam War memorial on Nov. 11 (approx. 12:30-1 p.m.), and he couldn't be more thrilled.

"You have no idea -- this is the most awesome event," said McDermott on the phone this week. "How often do you get to perform at the Vietnam memorial on a day like that? What an amazing event. What an honour it is to be asked to do it."

Not only that, but McDermott will be going to breakfast at the White House before his singing duties.

"It is an honour to be going to breakfast at the White House and if they're (Bill and Hilary Clinton) at the event, at the wall, great. And it's exciting. You've gotta pinch yourself once in a while and say, 'Geez. Do I live in Willowdale?'"

McDermott got the gig after performing the song The Wall at a homeless veterans fundraiser last October in Washington.

McDermott said he believes CNN and C-SPAN in the U.S. would be carrying the Remembrance Day ceremonies live. Calls to both cable outlets for specifics weren't returned by press time yesterday.

The Wall, written by Vietnam vet Tim Murphy, was also recorded by McDermott for his Canadian release, Buy Victory Bonds, and his U.S. release, Remembrance, with a portion of the royalties from both going to homeless veterans.

McDermott, who has worked with the War Amps in Canada for the last four years, also has a very personal connection to veterans causes.

His father Peter, who passed away in 1995, was with the RAF in Belgium during WWII.

"My father was a great veteran, my mom lost her brothers in the war, it's just always been a part of our family," he said.