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John McDermott Family Christmas Show on Dec. 12

By Celina Ip

Pembroke will be joining renowned and beloved tenor John McDermott when he delivers holiday cheer to Festival Hall on Dec. 12.


Formerly a member of The Irish Tenors, McDermott is one of Canada’s most beloved male vocalists who is best known for his stirring renditions of traditional tunes such as ‘Danny Boy’ and ‘Loch Lomund’.

For more than 20 years, the 62-year-old musician has forged a career in traditional Celtic music that has resulted in a string of more than 30 critically-acclaimed studio albums that began with the double platinum ‘Danny Boy’ in 1993 up until his most recent album ‘Raised on Songs and Stories’ which was released in 2016 and received rave reviews.

Throughout his career, McDermott has brought his musical talents to stages across Canada and around the world, including at least a dozen performances at Pembroke’s Festival Hall.

Along with his traditional shows, McDermott has also been enchanting his audiences with his annual Family Christmas Show for the past 23 years.

On Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m., McDemott will be bringing that holiday musical magic and yuletide lore to the Festival Hall stage.

“It's still a ton of fun to be doing stuff like this at this time of year and I think people are ready for it. It's been a pretty crazy year around the world and this is a chance to catch your breath, sit back and relax,” said McDermott.

Accompanied by his talented trio – consisting of a double bass, guitar, accordion and keyboard – McDermott’s warm voice will carry his audience back in time to Christmases from across the ages, as he mixes story telling with classic holiday favourites that will echo in the hearts of people from all generations.

“Throughout the night, I’ll also be sharing some nice historical stories that will speak to what the songs are about,” said McDermott. “A lot of the songs are memory pieces that people can relate to and that they might remember a friend or a family member singing or talking about back in the day.”

Along with traditional tunes like "Have yourself a Merry Little Christmas" and " Silent Night", McDermott will serenade his audience with Canadian Christmas classic that will pay tribute to renowned musicians like Ron Sexsmith, Frank Mills, Murray McLaughlan, Gordon Lightfoot, and John McCutcheon.

“Most of the material are actually songs written by Canadians. So there are many Canadian Christmas pieces as well as a lot of traditional content,” said McDermott. “Among those, I’ll be performing John McCutcheon’s 'Christmas in the Trenches' which tells the touching story of Christmas Eve during the First World War.”

McDermott expressed his hope to welcome a full house of families and friends on Dec. 12 at Festival Hall, as everyone ushers in the holiday season with a night of music, magic and memories.

Tickets are $40 and are available to purchase online at or by calling 613-735-2182. 

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