Performing on stage with Grammy nominated East Midlands’ orchestra Sinfonia Viva at the Royal Concert Hall, Nottingham, on New Year’s Eve will be a fitting way to finish a busy year for Heanor singer and firefighter Andy Quinn.
This time last year, Andy won the hearts and minds of BBC One prime time audiences with his rendition of Bring Him Home from the musical Les Miserables on Michael McIntyre’s Big Show.
Since then, he has performed widely across the East Midlands and has just finished recording his first album Unexpected Star – made possible by generous donations from the public through a crowd funding appeal.
Andy met Sinfonia Viva chief executive Peter Helps earlier this year when he performed Chess in Viva’s unique mobile stage as part of the orchestra’s 35th anniversary regional tour.
A coffee and chat resulted in Viva inviting Andy to be the guest soloist at its popular New Year’s Eve concert which will this year feature timeless musical romances linked to the theme of love.
Andy will join the chamber orchestra on stage for four numbers in the programme - Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Younger than Springtime from South Pacific; Georgia on My Mind, which is long associated with singer Ray Charles; American country music hit Always on my Mind which is also the title of the concert and Anthem from the musical Chess.
Andy (37) lives in Heanor with his wife Emma and two young children. He works full time for Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service and also a part-time on-call fire fighter at Heanor.
He has been treading the boards in amateur theatre since the age of ten and been taking lead roles in and around Derbyshire theatre companies since the age of 17 in venues such as Derby Theatre, the Assembly Rooms, Chesterfield Pomegranate and Mansfield Palace Theatre.
Last year he was surprised by his wife who had applied for him to appear on Michael Mcintyre’s Big Show as the unexpected star. Thinking he was at the theatre on work business, he walked into a room to get a fire extinguisher but was actually on London’s biggest stage at the Drury Lane Theatre in front of 2,500 people.
After an hour’s rehearsal time, he performed live and it was then aired to over six million television viewers.
Since then Andy has had a busy diary – singing at private functions, concerts and he has continued his theatre performances.
In his spare time, he has set up a YouTube page where he posts songs that he has recorded in his makeshift studio at home.
After starting a crowdfunding campaign early in the year he has raised enough money to begin making an album which he started recording in November and will release in time for Christmas. It consists of a mixture of musical songs from different genres.
Andy said: “Although it has been a busy year with quite a lot of bookings – I would not say that life has actually changed that much since appearing on the Big Show. If I had known what was in store, I would have sorted out a website or at least a Facebook page so that people could find me straight away.
“I have got my act together a bit more now with a website, Facebook and You Tube pages so that I can put myself out there a bit more now.
“It’s particularly exciting to have finished the album. I decided to take the plunge in response to people asking me whether I would be recording.
“I was told about the crowd funding site and gave it a go although it did feel rather awkward asking people for money.
“I was amazed to raise £7,500 which has enabled me to get into the studio for three days at the Foundry in Chesterfield and I am looking forward to getting the album out by Christmas.
“Appearing with Sinfonia Viva on the concert stage is right up my street and just the kind of opportunity that I would like to develop moving forwards.
“I much prefer to do bigger concerts when the audience are dots in the dark as it is far less daunting than a more intimate gig.
“I have been performing for so many years that I don’t really tend to get nervous or over-think things but this is another level.
“My wife Emma is coming to the concert but the children who are only five and eight will be going to the pantomime at Nottingham Playhouse with their grandparents for the evening – which I think they will prefer!
“Early in 2018 I will need to take stock and look for the right agent to represent me and then – who knows what the future will hold.
For more information about the New Year’s Eve concert and all of Viva’s other performances in Nottingham and across the East Midlands, visit www.vivaorch.co.uk