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Celebrated Irish Tenor Headlines RPO in St. Patrick's Day Concert

February 14, 2008

Students from Boland School of Irish Dance Step Their Way into the Celebration

Rochester, NY – John McDermott – the “worthy heir to the famed Irish tenor John McCormack” (Chicago Sun Times) and one of the singers who made The Irish Tenors into an international phenomenon – will be joining Principal Pops Conductor Jeff Tyzik and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra for its St. Patrick’s Day Pops concerts on Friday, March 14 and Saturday, March 15, 2008 at 8 p.m. at the Eastman Theatre.  One dozen students from the Boland School of Irish Dance will help kick the St. Patrick’s celebration into even higher gear.

In keeping with the holiday theme, the program will feature Tyzik’s arrangements of traditional Irish ballads, airs and reels including Red Butterfly, Hornpipe and Treble Jig as well as Leroy Anderson’s Irish Suite and Percy Grainger’s Irish Tune from County Derry performed by the RPO on the concert’s first half.  John McDermott takes command of the stage in the second half, with his sweet Irish tenor making the most of songs like Galway Bay, By Yon Bonnie Banks, Shenandoah, Scotland the Brave, and his signature song, Danny Boy, among others.

The international accolades heaped on John McDermott – nine full-length records (three Platinum and one Gold), five Juno nominations and a PBS special – belie the tenor’s modest personal and professional background.  The ninth of 12 children from a traditional Glasgow Irish family who emigrated from Scotland to Canada in the 1960s, McDermott is a long way from the man for whom singing was a hobby just 15 years ago.  While working as the veteran circulation manager for the Toronto Sun, he belted out an impromptu rendition of Danny Boy at a company party.  The newspaper executives in attendance helped fund McDermott’s first album, appropriately titled Danny Boy.  The album’s tremendous success – in additional to a fast-growing North American fan base – led to his participation in the PBS broadcast, The Irish Tenors. The rest, as they say, is history.  McDermott is equally well-known for his commitment to veterans’ causes, and was given the prestigious “Bob Hope Award” from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Founded in 1986 in Rochester, the Boland School of Irish Dance has focused on promoting Irish culture through the teaching of Ireland’s native dances and music.  Its students have competed successfully at local, regional, national and international venues, including representing the U.S. in Ireland at the World Championships.  The Boland Irish Dancers first performed with the RPO in 1996 and subsequently have been a part of its many Irish musical programs.

Tickets for these performances are $20-$57, available online 24/7 at www.rpo.org, by phone (454-2100); in person from the RPO Box Office, Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. (non-concert Saturdays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.); and seven days a week at area Wegmans.  A convenience fee may apply.  Students and senior citizens are entitled to a 20% discount on advance single ticket purchases as well as half-price rush tickets beginning at 10 a.m. on the concert day. The WPOP Series is sponsored by Wegmans.

Celebrating its 85th season in 2007-08, the RPO inspires and enriches the community through the art of music.  The Orchestra is passionately dedicated to outstanding musical performance at the highest artistic levels, and has a unique tradition of musical versatility, commitment to music education in the broadest sense and a deep and enduring engagement with the community.  The RPO has been honored with the New York State Governor’s Arts Award and two recent ASCAP awards for adventurous programming.  RPO performances are made possible in part with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Council on the Arts, a State Agency; the State of New York; Monroe County and the City of Rochester. 

Note: Interviews and photos of McDermott and the Boland School of Irish Dance are available.



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