Acclaimed Irish tenor Anthony Kearns returns to Port Angeles on Saturday

Anthony Kearns

Anthony Kearns

PORT ANGELES — Anthony Kearns considers himself a late bloomer.

“I went for singing lessons at age 23,” said Kearns, the famed Irish tenor who will return for his 12th concert at the Port Angeles High School Performing Arts Center, 304 E. Park Ave., this Saturday night.

Alongside his accompanist Patrick Healy, Kearns, now 43, will sing traditional Irish songs, Broadway show tunes and other classics in a 7:30 p.m. performance presented by the Juan de Fuca Foundation for the Arts.

Tickets are $15 to $35 for adults and $10 for children age 14 and younger.

This show will be different from the ones that came before. Kearns and Healy had planned to perform with members of the Port Angeles High School Roughrider Orchestra, as they have done several times.

But last week Ron Jones, conductor of the orchestra, sent an email to the Peninsula Daily News.

“Regretfully, the high school orchestra will not be able to participate in the Anthony Kearns concert,” he wrote, “due to overwhelming conflicts with state sports.

“I cannot tell you how disappointed I am to have to relinquish this opportunity, but there are no other options.”

Both Kearns and Lynnette Crouse, his longtime publicist for Port Angeles concerts, expressed their regrets, too.

“It will be my first Port Angeles solo concert in nearly a decade that I’ve not had [the students] on that stage with me, and it is a big disappointment,” Kearns said in an email.

“Ron is to be commended for his exemplary work with the orchestra students there,” he added.

Kearns is touring in support of his debut solo album, “With a Song in My Heart,” a collection of songs that have been his companions since he was a young man.

Kearns grew up in Ireland’s County Wexford, and then moved to Dublin to follow his dream of making music for a living.

His career is studded with historic moments: performing at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library to celebrate the Irish heritage of the Kennedy family; singing at the Capitol’s Friends of Ireland Luncheon for President Barack Obama and Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny; offering the Lord’s Prayer in song at the 25th annual PBS Memorial Day Celebration; serving as ambassador for Wells of Life, a nonprofit group providing water wells in rural Uganda.

He also tours with the Irish Tenors, a trio featuring Finbar Wright and Ronan Tynan, and has sung in operas — Mozart’s “Don Giovanni,” Bizet’s “Carmen” — across Europe and North America.

When asked what he listens to for relaxation, Kearns said he often prefers quiet — though he does enjoy some James Taylor.

“I’ve never met him. But there’s a concert in Tampa on Nov. 14. I plan on going,” said Kearns, who lives in Orlando, Fla.

The singer will do a holiday tour with the Irish Tenors into December, and then return home to Ireland to spend Christmas with his five siblings and their families.

“I’m the only wandering troubadour,” Kearns said.

He’d like to put down roots some day but quipped that he wants to “get the Port Angeles concert out of the way first.”

Kearns has a bit of advice for a young singer dreaming of a life in music.

“Change your surname to an Irish surname, something with O-apostrophe,” he joked.

Seriously: “Follow your heart, no matter what. When opportunity comes by, grab it with both hands.

“You’ve got to be ready. Hard work is the key — and the fire in the belly.”

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