The Celtic Tenors return to Sidney

Matthew Gilsenan, one of the Celtic Tenors, called the Peninsula News Review from Dublin, one hour before they were due to perform at the Church of the Three Patrons. Fellow tenor Daryl Simpson forgot his suit at home, and spent much of the day trying to secure one.

“We’ve been to a Catholic priest and three or four husbands of people organizing the event tonight, and that is going to be a large part of the show tonight,” laughed Gilsenan.

Gilsenan, Simpson and James Nelson are returning to Sidney as part of a two-week tour of Canada and the United States. Gilsenan said that the lush greens of the West Coast remind him of Ireland, where “the grass grows over the ditches.”

“Of all of the places I’ve been to in the continent of North America, your neck of the woods gives me a sense of not being so far away, even though it is.”

The group just finished an extensive tour of Germany, including a stop in Weimar. Gilsenan said the group does find time to explore the places they’re in, but Weimar is notable for being close to the Buchenwald concentration camp. Though the other members wanted to go, Gilsenan did not think he could bear it, but the group’s German driver encouraged him, saying that every German schoolchild had to see it for themselves.

“It was a life-changing thing for me.”

Gilsenan said the group picks songs they love and that resonate with them.

“If something really resonates for a performer, it translates to an audience on a deep level, so we sing songs that are relevant to us right now,” he said.

As an example, he brings up one song, “The Dutchman,” made popular by Steve Goodman. It is about a wife who cares for a husband with dementia, which has a special significance for Gilsenan because it affected his own family.

Gilsenan says they sing the “meat and potatoes” of any Irish act, including songs like “Whiskey In The Jar” and “The Irish Rover,” but the audience can also expect some operatic hits and Christmas tunes. This year, the group decided to be “on the hymny, more religious side” for the Christmas selections, though Gilsenan said that happened organically.

To keep it fresh, the group keeps adding new songs to the mix. Their set list is “a constantly living organism” because he said they could never play the same list over and over.

Gilsenan, who has three children, will tell their father if a song’s getting a bit tired, so he said they serve as “quality control” for the group.

“We don’t take ourselves terribly seriously. It’s a lively show, it’s not stuffy in any way. We try to have a lot of interaction with the audience and get everybody singing.”

The Three Tenors are performing at the Mary Winspear Centre on Dec. 5 and 6 at 7:30 p.m.



reporter@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Coun. Tara Ney rakes leaves behind Oak Bay municipal hall. Ney’s motion asking staff to do a report on alternative options to the ongoing use of gas-powered leaf blowers in Oak Bay. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
Oak Bay a step closer to banning gas leaf blowers

Council leans toward a study on alternatives

Victoria police are warning the public of fraudsters impersonating Service Canada and VicPD in an attempt to have victims transfer money to bitcoins. (Unsplash photo)
Police issue warning after Victoria man scammed out of $6,000

Victim received calls from people impersonating Service Canada, VicPD

The Capital Regional District is considering adding another dollar a year to the parkland acquisition fund fee for homeowners. (Black Press Media file photo)
One dollar or two? Greater Victoria parks acquisition fee hike spurs debate

$2 a year too steep, CRD committee recommends $1 a year increase per household

Maureen Cue models maybe the most obvious pandemic Halloween costume this year. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Pandemic impacts trends in Halloween looks, says costume shop owner

Maureen Cue sees shift in costume rentals due to the pandemic

A study by SlotsOnlineCanada notes there is at least 88 hours of top-rated horror movies for Canadians to consume this Halloween. (Unsplash)
Spooks and Chill study reveals Canada’s favourite horror flicks

88 hours of top-rated horror movies can fill COVID-19 Halloween

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

CBSA. (Black Press Media File)
4 sentenced in B.C. steroid smuggling, distribution ring that spilled into U.S.

Canadian Border Services Agency announced the results of a lengthy investigation it called ‘Project Trajectory’

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Allentown, Pa. on Oct. 26. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
POLL: How closely are you following the U.S. presidential election?

It may feel like it’s been going on forever but the U.S.… Continue reading

Search and Rescue Technicians carry a stretcher to the CH149 Cormorant during a 442 Squadron Search and Rescue Exercise in Tofino on February 28. (Photo by: Cpl Joey Beaudin, 19 Wing Imaging, Comox)
Father and son found dead after weeklong search near Pemberton

The father and son had set out for a day of mushroom picking last Thursday

A full moon rises over Mt. Cheam on Saturday, Feb. 8, 2020. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)
Rare full moon, Daylight Saving makes for a uniquely spooky Halloween – despite COVID-19

We can’t host costume parties but this weekend is still one for the history books

A woman wears a face mask and plastic gloves while browsing books as a sticker on the floor indicates a one-way direction of travel between shelves of books at the Vancouver Public Library’s central branch, after it and four other branches reopened with limited services, in Vancouver, on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
B.C. reports 234 new COVID cases, 1 death of senior who had attended small birthday party

Roughly 5,700 people are isolating due to being exposed to a confirmed case

MNP senior economist Susan Mowbray presents the State of the Island Economic Report on Thursday night to conclude the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s virtual summit. (VIEA image)
Not-so-rosy State of the Island report caps off virtual summit

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance’s summit took place online Oct. 27-29

Burnaby RCMP responded to a dine-and-dash suspect who fell through a ceiling in March 2020. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Suspected dine-and-dasher falls through ceiling of Burnaby restaurant

A woman believed to be dashing on her restaurant bill fell through the kitchen ceiling

A can of Canada Dry Ginger Ale is shown in Toronto on Thursday Oct. 29, 2020. The maker of Canada Dry Ginger Ale has agreed to pay over $200,000 to settle a class-action lawsuit launched by a B.C. man who alleged he was misled by marketing suggesting the soda had medicinal benefits. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Joseph O’Connal
B.C. man’s lawsuit over marketing of Canada Dry ginger ale settled for $200K

Soda’s maker, Canada Dry Mott’s Inc., denied the allegations and any liability

Most Read