I have spent a lifetime as a Wedding Singer. From the tender age of 10, I have sung at Weddings. From the time it was discovered that I had a pure Boy Soprano voice my Choir Master and Vocal Coach encouraged and tested my ability to perform Latin, German, Austrian and French works by many of the greatest popular composers. Shortly after joining the boy’s Choir in North Dublin in 1978 I was asked to audition a piece by our Choirmaster along with many other boys. I was delighted to outperform the others and become the lead solo Boy Soprano. Thus began my lifetime affair with Classical music and Classical performance. The upside to this elevation to head Boy was that I was asked by many people who saw me perform to sing at their Wedding ceremonies. This was the origins of my life as a Wedding Singer.
Is being a Wedding Singer Cool?
True to say, growing up in a tough North Dublin neighbourhood being the local Wedding Singer didn’t rate highly on the cool stakes. When all my mates were playing Gaelic (It was the height of the Dubs successful team of the 70’s) or Playing Football in the hope of getting a trial with Liverpool ( Ronnie Whelan),
Arsenal ( David/Pierce O’ Leary, Liam Brady) or Manchester United (Kevin Moran). I was singing Panis Angelicus in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
I Loved Football, Gaelic, Rugby I still do. The problem is I wasn’t very good at it. Sports was not where I excelled. I was always the last to be picked for a kick around in street games. Still, I loved participating.
As an Infant I had bad hips, bad knees, flat feet, the list goes on. Not the physique of an athlete. I couldn’t run 20 paces without tripping myself up. Think Forrest Gump as a kid. I had bad eyesight and still do, operations corrected my site but not sufficient enough to restore my peripheral vision. Needless to say, all this stacked the odds against me becoming a top athlete. But I loved to play and participate.
My one area of excellence was music. When I sang the Avé Maria there was rarely a dry eye at a Wedding! Both My Mother and Father claim to have been singers and tell me that is how I inherited the gene.
Wedding Singer, Not Cool. Singer in a Band Cool!
So when does it become cool to become Singer? Well in the 80’s as a Teenager in North Dublin Bands begun to spring up like Aslan, The Missing Link, The D11 runners Aiken Drum https://fanningsessions.wordpress.com/2009/07/07/aiken-drum/
Suddenly it was cool to be a singer, not a “Wedding Singer” of course but a singer, a front man someone to front a Band. At my First School concert in Secondary School, I performed “Save A Prayer” from Duran Duran and “Wish you were here” from Pink Floyd with Glen Hansard and Mark Dignam who as we know have both gone on to make full-time careers in music(where did I go wrong?).Needless to say, I had a few offers and joined a synth Band(well, it was the 80.’s) we thought we were Depeche Mode. We had some great gigs in places like the Ivy rooms, performing New Order, Depeche Mode Covers.
Bands came and went the pop was replaced by Rock, Whitesnake, Guns, and Roses, Metallica, AC-DC covers replaced the synth pop. Original Bands, Cover Bands, Gigs, Recording, Audition’s, new members, no record contracts, no money. The constant change of lineups and Bands and the pursuit of Fame and fortune.
Then came the Commitments and a new sense of identity. But what a great time and experience beautifully captured in Sing Street.
Wedding Band Wedding Singer
In the late 1990’s, wow last century! I finally gave up on the dream of following in Bono’s footsteps and climbing the trussing to plant an Irish flag in Redrocks. There were far more talented and energetic Front men than me had failed to make the grade. I decided to concentrate on the area and niche that was perfect for me and I returned as a Wedding Singer. Performing in Churches at Ceremonies, singing classical and contemporary pieces alike. Once again I took the route that was not regarded as cool. Many of my contemporaries couldn’t consider the possibility of playing and performing at Weddings and Wedding Receptions, they were still Rock star wannabees on a mission. But I enjoyed it and understood its relevance in the world of entertainment. Sure it wasn’t Wembley or Redrock or the Theatre of Dreams but it was entertainment and singing and music. So after a great number of years, I can still proudly say I am a Wedding Singer and have been since the age of 10. Times have changed and the music and pub scene that existed for so many years and provided the platform and stage for so many Bands to perform and springboard to fame have disappeared. Some of the Bands that existed in my youth most notably Aslan are still filling venues but never quite made the leap that they deserved. I am Happy to say I still enjoy performing and having the opportunity to sing some of the classic songs that I learned so many years ago. I can be booked for ceremonies and Receptions with The Jukebox Kings Wedding Band Ireland