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June 2019
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Fan Q & A

this Q & A section was done by fans for the Celtic Tenors Yahoogroup Anniversary


If you start to plan a tour or a concert, what work has to be done before hand, like choosing cities, finding a date which 'fits' into the recent schedule, choosing musicians, tour / stage management, accomodation, choosing songs for the evening? How much time do you need, how early does the planning start, and who does what part of the work (agency, management, tenors ....)?

As you might have guessed, there has been an element of chaos until last year on this point. A good, responsible Agent comes up with proposals and we more than usually agree with him/her. At least a year is usual for booking tours but some days are filled much closer to the time.


Which female singer would you choose for a duet?

Jennifer Warnes, Crystal Gayle, Linda Rondstat? there are way too many out there.


Which song, one you have never performed before, would you like to perform solo and why and, which song (again never performed before) would you like to perform as a trio and why? It can be any kind of song, regardless whether your voice(s) allows you technically and whether it fits into the Celtic Tenor repertoire.

Martha or I hope that I don't fall in love with you by Tom Waites


What city, in the world, has the best burgers?

Dublin. I'm biased


Of the 4 seasons, Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall, what would be your favourite season and why?

Springtime. I just love the Fresh young greenness of everything, and the beautiful smell.


How do you choose the various songs which you include in both your recordings and in your stage performances?

It is a difficult thing to do. Sometimes I wish our choices were made by fewer people. Too many managers and record people can skew our true direction.


How is it decided who will do what part of a song when the song has been chosen to be part of your repertoire? Do you ever 'switch parts' and if you do, how do you decide who will take which part and is it difficult to keep straight the new part you've taken on and not do the old part you're accustomed to?

It's always obvious during rehearsals. It's funny but each voice and musical sensibility seems to naturally find the line that suits.


If you could choose ANYBODY in the world, who would be the guest artist on your next CD??

Tom Waits.


Knowing what you know about the music industry and some of the pitfalls of having to travel from venue to venue in order to get your music across, would you recommend this profession to Sean if he ever came to you and said that he wanted to follow in your footsteps?

This is a vocation. Nobody could have told me to do this or not. My own heart told me. This is a really tough profession, which can take you away from your family and friends for long periods. But if his heart was truly in it, I would support him.


If you could have something you didn't already have, what would you want and why would you want it?

Large mature trees in my back garden! Our house is on a green field site, I think it's going to take a 100 years at least for any of the trees to become real trees!!!


What would you do if the audience started leaving one by one during a concert and there were only a handful of people left after the intermission?

Fire the sound technician!! Only joking! Only one thing to do - keep on singing!! 

Leaving family and friends aside, what is it you miss most about Ireland when you are travelling?

My own bed, and the cool wet air.


On the other hand, during all your travels abroad, what of the things/ procedures/ways of life you have seen would you like to bring back to Ireland?



I freed myself from the April Fool Trap (well done, James), but still I am curious to know one thing from you, Matthew. In 'The Contender' you keep singing that you want to have a plough wrapped around you, and I would like to have an exact description of this plough.

The Starry Plough was a flag used during the troubles in Ireland pre 1916. It was adopted by the Irish Citizens Army and is associated with the Irish Republican Socialist and Labour Movement.


What would you consider your most challenging and yet most rewarding performance in your career as a Celtic Tenor?

A: It would have to be our performance to the directors of EMI in order to secure our first ever record contract. Challenging, to say the least!


What was the absolutely most boring book you've ever read?

A book on soil mechanics. Seriously!


If I were to achieve a lifelong dream of a stay in Ireland, what would you recommend that I add to my itinerary so that I could enjoy a real Irish experience?

O'Donoghues Pub on Merrion Row, Dublin to enjoy live trad music. Or indeed, if you can find it, the same kind of thing in a country pub.


Do you like cooking? What kind of meal would you create and serve if some of your friends have announced they were coming to visit?

On our new cooker, I think I would do a Thai curry. Just found an amazing recipe. My wife and I just love cooking and having friends over for dinner.


What was your most embarrassing moment on stage?

I used to sing La Golondrina or The Swallow and during a competition, when I was about 10, I had an overzealous salivary gland and every few phrases I swallowed, even when a note should have been sung! I gulped three times during the Swallow!!


If you are at home, that is not on the road, how do each of you celebrate Christmas?

No question - With family.


If you could invite 3 people to dinner, whom would you choose? The people you choose can be famous, infamous or ordinary folk - living or dead.

Richard Feynman, Chopin and Naomh Chomsky


The Dublin shows this year will be 'The World's Greatest Tenors." Having seen this wonderful show two years ago, I wonder if there are any plans to record this for release on DVD or CD?

Don't know!


If you could be an animal for one day, what would you be and why?

One of the grazing cows in our back field, lazing in the sun all day!


You're the oldest of five at home, 'big brother' to all your brothers and sisters. What is the one thing you want to teach Sean about being a big brother to Baby Celt 2? And does it depend on whether Baby Celt 2 is a brother or sister?

Never try to rebuild it - like the Bionic Woman - just asked Deirdre - I nearly choked her!!