Celebrity Host & Emcee
John McDermott can recall the precise moment when he realized he had made the right decision to give up his day job and make singing his full-time career. That moment came at 8 p.m. on October 5th, 1993 at the Rebecca Cohn Theatre in Halifax, Nova Scotia as he walked on stage to a full house and a thunderous East Coast welcome.
As he mentioned to a magazine interviewer, John remembers the details so well because it was the first concert with his own band, following a year as the opening act for the internationally renowned Irish group, The Chieftains. John was thrilled that the Halifax crowd was wildly enthusiastic – so enthusiastic, in fact, that their encore-encouraging applause kept the show going for more than four hours.
Not that many years before, John had been working in the circulation department of one of Toronto's daily newspapers, The Sun. As a creative outlet, he would sing a few Irish and Scottish folk tunes at staff gatherings – songs he had learned growing up in a musical household in Willowdale, Ontario after his family moved there from Glasgow, Scotland. His father Peter – John still considers him the finest tenor he has ever heard – and his mother Hope encouraged family sing-a-longs. The only formal musical training John received was when he attended St. Michael's Choir School in Toronto for two years.
There are many other milestones in John's career. His concerts are sell-outs and sales of his albums are brisk. In addition, John is a perennial favourite to sing the National Anthem at Toronto Maple Leafs home games, and he has met five U.S. presidents. He has been nominated for a number of Juno awards and received the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor Society's Bob Hope Award for his support for veterans' causes.