Singing “Danny Boy” down a phone line landed Anthony Kearns a place in “Ireland”s Search for a Tenor” contest. The contest was in conjunction with the release of a new ten-pound note (commonly referred to as a “tenner”) and Anthony”s phone audition would change his life dramatically. Kearns had to hitchhike to Dublin for the finals and he was the only untrained singer in the competition. He sang “The Impossible Dream” and “Danny Boy” for an encore and won the contest. From there, he has gone on to become an international star. Anthony”s passion for singing was evident at an early age. He sang at Mass. He sang in contests such as the All Ireland Fleadh. He sang sean nos. He sang contemporary. He sang classics. He just sang. While working at the Grand Hotel in Wicklow, he sang while he worked, and became known as the “singing barman”. Now he travels the world, singing with the wildly popular “Irish Tenors” as well as individual projects. Speaking from his home in Dublin, Kearns explained his passion for singing. “I knew I had some talent, and it was my way of expressing myself. And I had to just do it. I needed a fix and my fix was singing. Other people had sport or whatever, but for me I had to sing to get that buzz, that enjoyment, you know?” I asked him in this YouTube age, where there are competitions like “Britain”s Got Talent”, “X-Factor” or “American Idol” that previously unknown singers now have a world stage in short order. “If you have a natural talent or ability and get that opportunity, its great and anything can happen”. But the pressure is immense, too, I added. Look at Susan Boyle, who was a lovely singer in her local circle, but was catapulted to the world stage where the pressure caused her to have a brief breakdown. It has disadvantages, too. “But I would say to people”, Anthony replied, “You have to want it. You have to want it so bad there”s nothing else. You have to eat, sleep, drink the music and you have to want it. You have to have the steel and the reserve to handle what”s thrown at you. The singing is the easy part.” Two of the songs in is contemporary repertoire are the poignant and powerful “Bring Him Home” and Empty Chairs And Empty Tables” from Les Miserables. I asked him if he had considered a stage career. “I was approached once, in New York, believe it or not. I sang “Bring Him Home” and did a good job of it on the day, and the woman booked me for a concert. Then she asked if I had performed in musical theater and did I have any interest, but it is another discipline and a different style of singing I suppose. “But I”ve always had a fondness for musicals”. In looking through the research on the songs that Anthony sings on his website, it turns out there is a very interesting connection between the song “Danny Boy” and Ouray, Colorado! Very few people know that “Danny Boy” was written by an Englishman, Fredrick Weatherly, in 1910. The tune he had set it to did not sell. Weatherly”s brother moved to San Francisco then followed the gold rush to Ouray, in Colorado. While there, Weatherly and his wife listened to Australian miners playing a tune called “The Air From County Derry”. Weatherly”s wife sent the music to her brother-in-law back in England, and he set the tune to “Danny Boy”. This new version was published in 1913, and it has become the unofficial anthem of Ireland across the world. Anthony has an extensive repertoire that includes Irish songs, songs from musicals, classical and even comedy, such as songs by Percy French. I asked what people might expect from his show. “There is something for everyone. I tend to lean towards Irish songs. There are the Moore melodies, you need to have some comedy, some nostalgic Irish songs”some glorious operatic arias. With my accompanist, Patrick Healy, we tend to have some fun as well with some duets. You have to have a bit of laughter, a bit of tear shedding, a bit of elevation. People need to have that reason to stand up, and applaud and stamp their feet. Music is entertainment, and people need to be entertained. For those wanting to be entertained by Anthony Kearns, he will be performing October 9, at the Northern Hills Christian Church, 5061 E. 160 Avenue. (just north of Thornton) in concert to benefit The Senior Hub. Doors are at 6:30; show starts at 7:30. For information on tickets, check Anthony”s schedule on his website: www.anthonykearns.tripod.com or go to: www.blacktie-colorado.com and search for upcoming events. –Cindy Reich

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