Music from Broadway shows, operetta, folk and parody songs filled on Monday the Halim Salfiti Theatre in Amman, during a concert by Father John Sheehan of the Sacred Heart Parish, which marked the actor and singer´s debut in the Kingdom after having performed in 12 different countries throughout his career.
Father John has appeared in over 1,000 theatrical and operatic performances, and has worked with several opera companies including the Amore Opera, Goldenworks, the Light Opera of Manhattan and the Village Light Opera.
He has also sung with and established choral groups in the US, Austria, Nigeria, Canada and Micronesia, and has been a cantor at a Franciscan Church in Toronto for three years.
“I sing wherever I am — and everywhere I have gone, music has always opened doors for me and allowed me to meet people and do the things that I love,” the singer told The Jordan Times, elaborating on the years he spent in Ireland, the UK, Nigeria and Ghana.
Growing up in a theatre family in the US, Father John Sang at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City as a boy soprano before earning one of the first three degrees in theatre ever awarded by the University of Notre Dame. He then worked in theatre and broadcasting for several years before entering the Jesuits.
But, despite his formation as a singer and actor, Father John is “still not a fan of the word ‘concert’.”
“It makes people think of fancy dress, people standing stiffly next to a piano, and an evening of nothing but singing,” he explained, noting that, when he performs, he prefers to make it rather entertaining through a variety of music and stories.
“Performer” is the word that better describes Father John, according to attendees, who expressed their delight over an evening filled with “not only a great voice, but lots of fun, comedy and charisma”.
“I would say that any good singer has to be an actor — you have to get inside the song, its plot, mood and emotion,” Father John told The Jordan Times after his performance, adding that “being a singer is much more than just singing songs, and you have to figure out what is it about and how are you going to represent it for your audience.”
Asked about his choice of Peter Pan songs for the opening and closure of the concert, Father John noted that the play was the first Broadway show he ever attended. “When I came back home that day, I cried like my heart was about to break, because I knew I would never see such a thing again,” he recalled.
On the final song, "Never Never Land", the father expressed that “it is such a wonderful song because it speaks about this special thing we do in theatre and in church”, explaining that “the song speaks about this magical place where you never grow up that you can find only in your heart, and when you listen to that, you know that is exactly what theatre should be about, and what religion should be about”.
Proceeds raised at Father John’s concert will benefit the Care for the Poor programme at the parish, which has previously supported the unprivileged through the collection of advent baskets, iftar meals during Ramadan, and free flu shots for children and seniors, according to organisers.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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