Belfast Telegraph

Singing barrister 'honoured' to perform at BBC Proms in Park

By Lauren Harte

A singing barrister from Co Tyrone says he is "deeply honoured" to be performing in front of millions across the UK at tonight's BBC Proms in the Park.

Karl McGuckin (32), from Edendork near Dungannon, leads a double life as a barrister and a bass baritone and is rated as one of Northern Ireland's finest classical singers.

Karl will take to the stage tonight at the Titanic Slipways in Belfast as part of BBC Proms in the Park in Northern Ireland.

Now in its 17th year, the sold-out event is part of broadcast celebrations to mark the Last Night of the Proms and will link music-making festivities at London's Royal Albert Hall to BBC events around the UK.

"Every year the Proms produces such an eclectic mix of artists who create a fantastic atmosphere, so it's a real honour to be a part of this year's line-up," he said.

This year's line-up includes music legend Midge Ure, classical guitarist Xuefei Yang, mandolin virtuoso Avi Avital, percussionist Ithamar Doari, the cast of Titanic Dance and musical theatre star, Kim Criswell.

Karl comes from a musical and sporting family - his cousin and godfather is Joe Brolly, the former GAA star and commentator, who is also a barrister.

But it wasn't until he was 16 that Karl got the musical bug after auditioning for Youth Opera Northern Ireland.

Two years later he moved to Dublin to study law at Trinity College and trained at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, where he considered turning his part-time singing engagements into a full-blown job.

Karl has played a host of leading roles in musicals including Pilate in Jesus Christ Superstar, Judd in Oklahoma and the eponymous role in Sweeney Todd.

To date, his TV appearances include BBC NI's Nolan Live and the St Patrick's Concert from St Anne's Cathedral earlier this year.

But tonight's event will thrust him onto a new level and into the national and international spotlight.

Karl previously appeared at the event in 2006 when he was a member of the Ulster Youth Choir, who will be performing with him again tonight alongside the Ulster Orchestra.

"When I got the St Patrick's Day gig this year, I assumed that I wouldn't get to the Proms, but when I got the nod in July, it came as a great surprise," Karl said. "I sang at the City Hall event in my teens with the Ulster Youth Choir, so to return all these years later as a solo artist is something I could never have imagined. I feel like I have come full circle - it's a nerve-racking but lovely treat."

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