John Innes has a singing voice so strong it can fill a stadium – or a busy city street, depending on where the mood takes him.
On Saturday evening, the man known as the People’s Tenor showed he is as capable of captivating an audience at a black-tie dinner as he is of enthralling sports fans or shoppers.
John, originally from Edinburgh, was performing at the Reach Out I’ll Be There Annual Ball as part of an entertainment line-up which included the band Motown Gold and the host for the evening, Hospice Patron Peter Martin.
For many of the guests, John’s rousing rendition of Nessun Dorma was the most memorable moment of another highly successful event on the Hospice fundraising calendar.
The singer, who now lives in the Midlands, has played some of the UK’s biggest venues, but his association with the Hospice came about when he returned to the low-key format that made him famous – busking.
Speaking to us after has stunning performance at the Radisson Blu Hotel, John explained: “I was in Glasgow visiting family. I busk when I’m here – it’s good for the soul.
“I was singing in Argyle Street and I was approached by a member of staff from the Hospice who bought my CD and asked if I would be able to sing at the Ball.
“It has been a great evening. The sound is great in the hotel ballroom and the audience are very appreciative. It’s a nice venue. The Hospice have been very welcoming.”
The dramatic and uplifting quality of John’s sound has helped him carve out a niche as a singer at sporting events and for more than a decade, he has been a regular performer at the home of Leeds Rhinos rugby league team – whose fans have affectionately nicknamed him ‘Operaman’.
But it took him a lot of time – and effort – to gain a profile high enough to share a stage with some of the biggest names in the business.
He added: “I sang at Glasgow Concert Hall 10 years ago after a friend dared me to try to fill it. I stood on the steps of the Concert Hall over a period of three or four months promoting myself and managed to sell out 2000 seats, raising £10,000 for charity.
“I’m most often asked to sing Nessun Dorma and Andrea Bocelli songs. It’s usually sports events that I sing at so anthems or anything inspirational goes hand in hand with that.
“I’ve sung with Rod Stewart here in Glasgow and also with Katherine Jenkins at the Millennium Stadium in Wales. At that sort of event, it’s fantastic being at the centre of all that is happening.”
The Ball was attended by hundreds of Hospice supporters who helped raise vital funds through an auction, which featured high-quality prizes including jewellery and a cruise from P&O Ferries, as well as a raffle, silent auction and tombola.
Sister Rita, Chief Executive of St Margaret of Scotland Hospice said: “We are delighted to have held another very successful Annual Ball.
“Our entertainment on the night was first-class and we thank John Innes for his performance, which had our guests enthralled from start to finish.
“The event was very well-supported by the community and local businesses, many of whom generously donated items to assist with our fundraising on the night.
“All of our events are vital in ensuring that we can continue to provide our patients and their loved ones with the highest standards of care.”