By Grace Oborne
There will be no shortage of music entertainment as a three-day concert series at Abbey Gardens returns to Haliburton County.
On Saturday, Aug. 13, John McDermott, world-renowned tenor, will perform as one of six musical acts for Music at the Gardens for a night of auctioning, dinner, and live entertainment to fundraise for Abbey Gardens and its activities.
McDermott plans to stage a variety of his work, but most songs played will be from his new album, As the Sky Gives the Ocean, which pays tribute to moments to McDermott’s life. The happy and sad parts, along with lessons and hope he established along the way.
“There are fond memories that we hadn’t recorded in a while and I was saying to Mark, my producer, that we have so many great stories and we’ve got all the time in the world with the stuff that’s going on around us. So we took the time during the pandemic, about two years, to write, create, and find songs that were important to me,” McDermott said.
McDermott said this album is his most personal.
“The songs I’ve sung in the past are really songs of other writers. Now, these are songs that I’ve written and that are written by people that I know, so I know that the songs that I’ve chosen were all written for a purpose, for a reason. There’s a good energy attached to the songs because they’re not just fluff, there’s a good story behind each of them that people will resonate with,” McDermott said.
He has worked with his producer, Mark Lalama, to include songs that have deep meaning such as Danny Boy.
“The album is bookended with the song that launched my career. I close with my own version of Danny Boy with Mark on the piano, which I have never done. I’ve always sang acapella, but we did it with piano and Mark did a fantastic job.”
The album also showcases the work of Sheila Carabine of DALA Girls as she created the song, Oh Darling Don’t You Know. DALA Girls are to perform for Music at the Gardens as well.
On the board of directors for Abbey Gardens is Janis Parker. She and McDermott became friends when he first performed at Abbey Gardens in 2019.
“John is somebody that my parents loved forever, and we became friends. When I first jumped up with the idea, three years ago, to have a performance at Abbey Gardens, he was the first person I asked,” Parker said.
McDermott has been nominated for numerous Juno awards and in 2012, he was recognized with the Ted Williams Globe and Anchor Award by the Marine Corps Semper Fidelis Society.
McDermott is also known for his commitment to veterans’ causes. His foundation is McDermott House Canada. The first project was the renovation and expansion of the veterans’ wing at Sunnybrook Hospital. He received the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s Bob Hope award for his contributions.
“I mean, John is just a wonderful man. I mean, he single-handedly raised enough money for the veterans wing at Sunnybrook Hospital. He has just given back to the community in so many different ways,” Parker said.
Music at the Gardens will run from Aug. 12 to 14, with Susan Aglukark performing on Friday, McDermott and band will play Saturday evening, and Sunday evening will feature the DALA Girls.
All evening concerts will include pre-concert savories and a dessert buffet. Soft drinks and hot beverages will be complimentary, but beer and wine will only be available for purchase.
Matinee performances include Dizzy and Fay on Saturday, and the Nicholas Russell Standard Trio, and Nick and Benton on Sunday.
Evening tickets are $100 per person, while matinee tickets are $30 per person.
For a weekend pass and for all concerts, it is $300 per person.
To purchase tickets for John McDermott’s performance, abbeygardens.ca/product/johnmcdermott/ or email Janis Parker at firstname.lastname@example.org.