Irish Scholarship Committee presents tenor Anthony Kearns & Gaelic-American Glee Club at Fairfield University's Quick Center for the Arts


Image: Anthony KearnsAnthony Kearns, the 30-year-old tenor from rural County Wexford who combined talent, pluck and a bit 'o Irish luck to carry him to fame, performs Friday, March 15 at 8 p.m. at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The 75-member Gaelic-American Glee Club, an outgrowth of the Fairfield-based Gaelic-American Club, will open the program and a post-show reception will follow in the lobby. The concert is presented by the Irish Scholarship Committee.

Kearns is an original member of the famed Irish Tenors; in 1999, he, Ronan Tynan and John McDermott (later replaced by Finbar Wright), first toured the United States, earning millions of fans via a major gala concert televised coast-to-coast on St. Patrick's Day. With the group and as a soloist, Kearns has performed sold-out shows at some of the world's greatest venues, including Madison Square Garden, Carnegie Hall and Royal Dublin Society Main Hall. Fans describe his voice as "breathtaking," "unequaled" and "like a serenade" and journalists have called Kearns a new Count John McCormack, referring to the world-renowned tenor of the early 20th century.

The Gaelic-American Glee Club has shared the stage with Wright, McDermott and tenor Frank Patterson in previous Quick Center performances. The group, founded in 1995 by Edward O'Connor and Art Beagan, sings Irish favorites such as "Cockles and Mussels," "Wild Rover," and "The Star of the County Down." Tori Presti, a music teacher and choral director in the Newtown school system, is director.

Kearns was born in 1971 in the small village of Kiltealy, on Ireland's southeast coast, and became interested in singing as a teenager. As a member of the catering staff at the Grand Hotel in Wicklow, he became friendly with the bands that played there for wedding receptions. Soon enough, they were handing him the microphone for solos, and Kearns became known as the "singing barman." In the meantime, he crooned with friends in the pubs at night and hitchhiked to competitions across the country. His big break came in 1993, when the still untrained Kearns entered a competition called "Ireland's Search for a Tenor." The contest coincided with the country's launch of a new "tenor," or 10-pound note. Kearns sang "The Impossible Dream" and "Danny Boy" by phone to beat out the competition. His first-place finish landed him a spot on Ireland's popular "Late, Late Show," and caught the attention of Ireland's highly regarded singing instructor, Veronica Dunne, whom he then studied under for three years. Kearns has recorded four albums with the Irish Tenors: "The Irish Tenors," "Home for Christmas," "Live in Belfast" and "Ellis Island."

Proceeds from the performance will benefit the Irish Scholarship Committee's Father John M. Conlisk Scholarship Fund, which was established in 1991. Fr. Conlisk was spiritual director of Cathedral Girls High School in Danbury, director of Family Life at the Catholic Center in Bridgeport and pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Georgetown and St. Patrick's Church in Redding. He was pastor of St. Jerome Church in Norwalk before his death. In his memory, a year of study at the university is granted to an Irish national each year.

Tickets to the performance are $30. For tickets or information, call the Quick Center box office at (203) 254-4010 or toll free at 1-877-ARTS-396 or visit the website, www.quickcenter.com.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 20, 2002

Vol. 34, No. 164