|Anthony Kearns' concert at Bayshore High School,
the final one of his spring tour, was one of the most gorgeous concerts I've ever heard
him sing. It also meant his tour was over, and there would be no more solos (at
least on the east coast), until October. But it will take quite awhile to come down
from the breathtaking high on which Anthony left us.
I thought Anthony sounded a little tired-understandably-when he began this concert. But true professional that he is, he found the strength, used his voice wisely and well, and got progressively better as the evening wore on. And because he has treated his voice with care, and has such a strong technique, the voice warmed up as he sang, and we were treated to some of the most exquisite singing I've ever heard. I may as well jump right into the highlight of this, or practically any other evening in recent memory..........his "Danny Boy." As Patrick raised his hands over the keyboard to begin the introduction, Anthony held up his hand, and asked Patrick to wait. And then the sky opened up, and a thousand shooting stars descended into the audience, covering us with brilliance, as Anthony sang an a capella verse, rarely heard, but one that he himself had found a few years ago, to precede the song. It was almost "sean nos", but it wasn't. And the "Danny Boy" that followed was
beautiful beyond belief. As I sat there, tears running down both cheeks, I noticed the effect it was having on the rest of the audience, as well. I hope that Anthony also took a good look around the theatre, and realized the power of that extraordinary voice.
"We'll Gather Lilacs" was also the best I've ever heard it done. It's as if Anthony and Patrick had made a pact that this concert would not soon be forgotten. There was "O Sole Mio", vibrant and sunny as Italy, a magnificent "Because You're Mine", and "With a Song in My Heart", tributes to Mario Lanza, which would have made Lanza smile, if he wasn't too jealous (and if he were still alive!). There was a poignant "As I Sit Here", an adorable "Kitty of Coleraine", to name just a few. And a sumptuous "Granada" to end the concert.
Patrick Healy had a couple of surprises up his elegant sleeve, as well. During the second half, while Anthony "powdered my nose, as all us artistes do", Patrick told some new stories, and regaled us with a fabulous rendition of the famous Gilbert & Sullivan patter song, "Modern Major-General," aided by a young upstart who ran out onstage, whinnying, and riding a pretend horse. Who was that fair young man???? How wonderful to hear an expert on Gilbert & Sullivan perform one of the most famous examples of G & S!! And when Patrick got a standing ovation, who do you think stepped to the front of the stage, stretched out his arms.....and accepted all the applause??! Just more tomfoolery from the dynamic duo.
We also had wonderful singing from The Hibernian Festival Singers, led with great skill by Christopher Bilella. They sang some lovely Irish songs, a dynamite salute to the armed forces, and a rousing "Oklahoma." Their voices blended elegantly, and the evening finally came to a close with Anthony, the Hibernians, and the audience singing "God Bless America." And bless our talented performers for sharing their immense gifts with us.