OCTOBER 7, 2005
by Ann Loker
On Friday evening, October 7th, I had the great pleasure of seeing
nine-months work and dreams come to fruition. When Anthony Kearns and
Patrick Healy walked to the stage at St. Bede Catholic Church, I sat in a place of honor
beside my good husband and beamed with pride.

It took only eight months to find the perfect setting to bring the unique talent
that is Anthony Kearns to Williamsburg, Virginia. It was nine more of preparation to
make it happen. The plot was developed (along with my perm) at a local beauty
salon where I had the pleasure of meeting Catherine (Butch) Snyder, a few days
before Christmas, 2004. Butch was talking to another client who was a former assistant
pastor at St. Bede Catholic Church. Both of them were very receptive to my idea
to bring Mr. Kearns to the church.

Butch took the idea to her husband Don and to Monsignor Carr, the pastor.
On Christmas Day, she called to tell me that Monsignor had given us the go ahead!
I actually waited for the turkey to cool before I contacted Vincent Mitchell a few days
later. We worked out a contract to suit the church and the artist and this was signed
in February. Vince was to be a great “partner” throughout the months to come.
Monsignor Carr tapped Butch and Don to chair the committee and they graciously
chose my husband, Aleck, and me as co-chairs. As we are not parishioners of St. Bede,
we were touched by this honor.

May and June were filled with plans and trepidations. By the end of June, 800
plus tickets had been sold, and the reality of the whole thing began to hit home.
THE VOICE was coming and we had him! Ticketing, seating, staging, catering,
parking, ushering, lighting, decorating, publicizing—the “ings” were really flying!
Sponsors were found and the program laid-out and printed. There were many
corporate-world skills represented on the committee, but all of us were novices to
“show biz.” Good work ethic overcame our deficiencies. Don and Butch Snyder
worked incredibly hard to secure the success which we ultimately achieved.

In September the chairpersons enjoyed the Irish Tenors in performance
at the nearby Ferguson Center for the Arts. It was the first time that the Snyders had
attended a live performance of IT, and they received a sample of what was to come
for us in Williamsburg. Now they were really excited!

The last week of preparation was exhausting and exhilarating. I inherited a worry
gene that works around the clock. Don, it seems, was having the same experience. We
both thought of every unlikely tragedy that could possibly happen.

Friday dawned hot and wet—one of our fears coming true. The morning and
early afternoon were filled with flower arranging, piano tuning, dressing room prep,
and last minute adjustments. Butch, Aleck and I changed into our recital dress in
the church restrooms (separately and in different restrooms). There just
wasn’t time to go home. When Anthony Kearns, Patrick Healy and Vincent
Mitchell walked in the door in mid-afternoon, I will admit that my breath caught
and my heart skipped a beat. THIS WAS REAL!

A full two hours before curtain time, the audience began to arrive and as it was
raining steadily, they were admitted into the commons area of the church.
By performance time, St. Bede was filled with our sell-out crowd; all beautifully
dressed and looking lovely in spite of the weather. Umbrellas were piled like leaves
at the entrances to the church. I kept thinking about the poor guys working the
parking detail.

At 7 PM the world outside melted away. Don and Butch opened the show and
told the story of the meeting in the beauty shop. Father Abe, the new pastor,
welcomed everyone to St. Bede and then the magic began. The new program
was fantastic and the material showcases THE VOICE to perfection.
The superior acoustics of the church were fully utilized by this performance.
The audience was enthralled! Williamsburg has been
added to the list of Kearns’s conquests!

Patrick Healy was also in top form both musically and with his
singular comedic wit. Everyone adored him! No surprise there.

A lovely reception followed the recital and all too soon the evening
was coming to an end. The hard work of our committee and the superb
performance by these talented gentlemen had made an unforgettable experience
for all. We can’t wait to have them back!

Click here to see concert photos by co-chair Aleck Loker.