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Talented Bromley opera singer prepares to take centre stage

PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 July 2014

Jack was spotted singing on the streets raising money for cancer ressearch.

Jack was spotted singing on the streets raising money for cancer ressearch.

Archant

A former tree surgeon and undertaker is exploring his true love of opera as he prepares to sing at a top London theatre.

Tenor Jack Foley, 45, of Ravensbourne Avenue, Bromley, will perform at St James Theatre, on August 4.

Jack’s show at the venue near Victoria is entitled an Evening of Vocal Luxury and features his tribute to Mario Lanza, as well as his new release Be My Love.

He said: “It’s such an emotional experience singing and this will definitely be a great show to do, so I’m really looking forward to performing there already.”

Jack grew up in Durham where he would listen to his father’s records, filling his house with music from the likes of greats such as Julio Iglesias and Frank Sinatra.

He said: “Now looking back, I was heavily influenced by my father’s choice of music and I think it was sort of subconscious that I was drawn to singing operatic music.

“That is probably why I’m singing the kind of music that I am now.”

But he did not think of a career in music until he was in his 20s and before that Jack worked as a tree surgeon for Durham Council.

He said: “It was a good job, as you got to swing around on trees all day, but it is too much of a young man’s job for me to do now.”

Jack worked as a tree surgeon in Durham and continued in that line of work for a few more years when he moved to Bromley in 2000.

But it was when he started studying music at Morley College near Waterloo that he also took a part-time job as an undertaker.

Jack said: “It was actually quite a life-enhancing experience working as an undertaker.

“Death is a definite outcome and it just taught me to live life as much as you can.

“I think that’s what convinced me even more to try and start singing full-time.”

In 2002, he reached the semi-finals of Channel 4’s award-winning Operatunity TV programme.

He tried to work his way into the spotlight by working as a backstage guide at the Royal Opera House in London but it was only when he showed off his talent on the streets of London, that he finally had an opportunity to get into the music business.

He said: “I do try and raise money for Cancer Research UK and so I would sing in the middle of the street with a bucket for people to donate to me.

“It was here that my manager Jonathan spotted me and it was all history from there.”

Manager Jonathan Brosnan said: “When I saw him singing, I took to Jack straight away and when I asked if he was already signed, I was really surprised that he wasn’t, so I grabbed the chance and took him for myself.”

Jack will headline Magnificent Musicals at Southwark Cathedral, alongside the Royal British Legion’s Central Band, conducted by Captain David Cole, on October 3.

Jack said: “I would love to one day be performing on the Royal Opera House stage and to people all over the world, so I can try and make them happy with my music.”

Visit smoothclassics.co.uk and stjamestheatre.co.uk/events/jack-foley.

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