Irish tenor Kearns at Raymond Theatre on Oct. 21


Famed Irish tenor Anthony Kearns is looking forward to returning to the historic Raymond Theatre for another Sunday Afternoon Live performance.

“I’ve performed there before and the ladies are a great bunch on the (SAL) committee, and the Raymond Theatre is such a beautiful venue,” Kearns said earlier this week on a phone interview from Miami, where he was performing on the short U.S, tour that will also bring him to the Northwest.

“This is the 10th anniversary (of Sunday Afternoon Live) so we’re happy to be back to celebrate with them,” Kearns said. “

Kearns will perform at the Raymond Theatre at 2 p.m. Oct. 21. Tickets are still available, but going fast. They cost $10 in advance and $12 at the door. For ticket availability, call (360) 875-5831 or go to the website — sundayafternoonlive.org — to order.

As in his past visit, Kearns will be performing with his piano accompanist of 18 years, Patrick Healy.

Kearns, 41, was born and raised in a small Irish village in County Wexford called Kiltealy. It is the highest little village in Wexford situated at the foot of the picturesque Blackstair Mountains, population 1,600.

His interest in music began at about the age of 4, eventually perfecting traditional Irish instruments such as the double row black dot (accordion), mouth organ and spoons. He is a self-taught, fairly accomplished musician, placing in an All-Ireland competition in Black Dot as a youth. After finishing secondary school, Anthony studied catering and hotel management which led to employment at the Grand Hotel in Wicklow, Ireland. He worked at the Grand for four years, singing at weddings and other functions at the hotel, around the area, and with the Wicklow Musical Society.

But he always knew music would be his eventual career, even while working in the hospitality industry.

“I knew music was what I was meant to be doing, but it’s hard to tell people — like your school advisers — that when you’re 17 or 18 years old,” Kearns said.

So Kearns continued entering and winning singing competitions all over Ireland, including Ireland’s “Search for a Tenor” in 1993, the prestigious Dermot Troy Trophy for oratorio in 1995 and 1996 and the Best Male Singer at the 1995 Waterford International Festival of Light Opera.

But it was the “Search for a Tenor” competition that was a turning point in Kearns’ career.

He sang “Danny Boy” in a telephone audition, was invited to Dublin for the finals, and won the competition singing “The Impossible Dream” and “Danny Boy” as an encore. Kearns was the only untrained singer competing. After winning the competition, he studied for three years with Ireland’s renowned voice teacher, Veronica Dunne.

In 1998, he helped form The Irish Tenors singing group. With them, Kearns has performed in many of the most prestigious venues in America, among them: Carnegie Hall, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, Boston’s Fleet Pavilion, The Hollywood Bowl, on the grounds of the Capitol on the Fourth of July, and again at the Capitol for the funeral of President Reagan. Kearns has recorded 10 best selling CDs with The Irish Tenors, many of which went gold, platinum and double Platinum.

When not touring solo, Kearns is still performing with The Irish Tenors and noted that they will be on a 17-city U.S. tour for the holidays, including a stop in Seattle on Dec. 17.

Meanwhile, he’s excited about his upcoming performance in Raymond.

“It’s a mixed program. It’s a light-hearted program,” Kearns said of the show. “The ladies up there requested “Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears” so that’s definitely in the show.”