He also sang the national anthems at Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Maple Leafs games since 1988 and continues to do so. From 1984 through 1992 he worked as a circulation representative for the Toronto Sun, Conrad Black heard him singing at company parties. Black, along with other executives, financed McDermott's independent recording of "Danny Boy" in 1992, which was picked up and released in North America by EMI Music Canada. Following this unexpected success, McDermott decided to pursue a professional singing career. John has annual concerts world wide, and can be seen from Toronto, to Boston, to New York, to Glasgow. McDermott performed his first concert at the Rebecca Cohn Theatre on October 5, 1993 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
From there he continued to tour the rest of Canada, performing as an opening act for The Chieftains. Throughout 1994 he went on a tour of Australia and New Zealand, following the great success of Danny Boy, which had been ranked Number 1 on the charts there and achieved triple platinum in New Zealand. Next, in 1995 he went on a tour of the United Kingdom with The Seekers. At this point in his career he was becoming recognized internationally, so he started to tour regularly as a solo act rather than an opening act. He also appeared at several special events including the D-Day ceremonies in France in 1995, and the US Democratic National Convention in 1996.
He has also appeared on TV several times, both as a host of CBC Television concert specials in 1997, and in his own television special titled John McDermott: A Time to Remember which aired on PBS in 2002. McDermott formed The Irish Tenors and after performing a large concert in Dublin, Ireland in 1998, they spent some time touring the US, appearing on TV, and releasing a gold record. Since leaving The Irish Tenors, McDermott continues to tour extensively throughout the World, performing with his own group and with the great symphonies of the world. He continues to work to support the veteran community in the United States and in Canada. In 2000 McDermott dedicated McDermott House in Washington DC, a transitional home for homeless veterans. His latest release Journeys-Bringing Buddy Home was recorded to help support fundraising for Fisher House Boston and launch the Canadian initiative for an outreach centre for Canadian Veterans.
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