Irish Tenor uses music to inspire prayer, give back

By Michelle Bauman

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Anthony Kearns, founding member of The Irish Tenors. Credit: Kirsten Callaghan.

From his humble beginnings in rural Ireland, singer Anthony Kearns has been influenced by his passion for music and his Catholic faith.

Years after achieving musical success, that faith continues driving him to use his musical talent to inspire and help those around him.

In an Oct. 23 interview, Kearns – one of the original members of the acclaimed musical trio the Irish Tenors – told EWTN News that he was heavily involved in music as a child.

“I was always performing and singing,” he said. “Music was very much a part of my life.”

It was a national radio contest in his early 20s that gave Kearns his big break and boosted him from the amateur world into the professional realm.

He won the competition, “Ireland's Search for a Tenor,” and was then able to begin training with an acclaimed vocal coach as he pursued a career in music.

“It introduced me to the right people,” he said, and “that opened doors.”

In the years that followed, Kearns gained international attention, winning numerous awards and becoming a founding member of the Irish Tenors.

He sang at President Ronald Reagan’s funeral and at a Memorial Mass in New York City for those who died in the Sept. 11 attacks.

In addition to his work with the Irish Tenors, Kearns does many solo performances at fundraisers and charitable benefits, where he often sings “God Bless America.” He has also repeatedly dedicated the “Ave Maria” to wounded troops, as well as to the New Zealand miners who were killed in an explosion two years ago.

Kearns’ choice of music has been noted for its frequent religious and inspirational nature. When given the choice of what to perform, he often picks not only Irish tunes but also prayerful songs, even in venues that are not religious.

“I think it’s a time for people to reflect on the things we have,” he said, explaining that he sees it as an opportunity for prayer.

Kirsten Fedewa, who works as Kearns’ publicist and agent, recalled the tremendous response to Kearns’ appearance on the Fox News Network show "Huckabee,” where he chose to sing The Lord’s Prayer.

“The phone was ringing off the hook,” she said, adding that many of the testimonials she heard from people in the days that followed left her “in shivers.”

One man who contacted her said that he had been a watch officer in the war on terror for three years and had lost touch with his faith out of discouragement at the things he had witnessed.

Although he had not been to church in years, after hearing Kearns sing The Lord’s Prayer, “he ducked into the very next church that was available to him, and he made his peace with God,” Fedewa said.

“There's no doubt in my mind that Anthony was given this gift of song to do miraculous things," she added.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who hosts the show, said that Kearns’ performance had generated some of the best responses he had ever received for a musical act.

"I appreciate his choice of uplifting music, and for his ability to inspire people of faith everywhere, as well as to comfort those who are troubled,” Huckabee remarked.

Kearns said that he has heard “many, many stories” of his music touching people in profound ways.

“It’s hard to believe,” he said, adding that he was inspired. A desire to give back through music is part of the 41-year-old singer’s Catholic faith.

“We were brought up that way,” he said. “It’s your conscience.”

“If you see someone along the road who needs your help, you stop and help them,” he explained. “It should be in your nature.”

Kearns believes that he has been helped along the road to success and hopes that he can help others in some way, however small.

“I’m just a singer,” he said, explaining that in order to make a difference, “you need the community.”

He sees opportunities to aid those in need as “God reminding you” of your faith and what is really important.

“If I can help somebody as I pass along, then my life shall not be in vain,” he said.

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