Being a celebrated Irish tenor isn't all Guinness and Jameson's, Mark Forrest told us during his Dec. 8 concert at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Kennett Square. Sure, he has a degree in musical theater, another in liturgical music and a third in international marketing, but nobody really cares, he said: "All they want to know is, 'Do you sing "Danny Boy"?' "
Mr. Forrest's voice was wonderful -- yes, he did "Danny Boy," as well as other traditional Irish songs, songs of Christian faith, and Christmas carols. He asked veterans in the audience to stand and be recognized and in their honor sang Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA." He did a thrilling duet of "Ave Maria" with young St. Pat's parishioner Leah Owens, who has a stunning future in vocal performance ahead of her.
Mr. Forrest also spoke about his deep belief in the sanctity of life and told the audience about his eight children, one who died as an infant of a heart defect and two others who have a severe metabolic disorder. His experience led him and his wife, Muriel, to found the Faith and Family Foundation. It supports Wheatland Farm in Purcellville, Virginia, which provides equestrian programs for special needs children.
The concert, sponsored by the church's Knights of Columbus, was funny, moving and magical, all at once, and was a memorable prelude to what will be the parish's 150th anniversary in 2019.