Just before Liverpool mezzo soprano Danielle Thomas takes to the stage of the Philharmonic Hall at the end of this month for a concert in aid of Jospice, she will look at a photograph of her grandfather Alfred Thomas.
It was Alfred who spotted Danielle’s musical talents when she was at primary school and who encouraged her every step of the way towards her singing career. "He was my greatest champion," says Danielle, now 25. "He took me to see Phantom of the Opera when I was nine and I knew then that I wanted to sing for people. If I get nervous before performing I look at granddad’s photo and ask him to help me out."
Danielle will be appearing at the Philharmonic on Thursday 29 October (7.30pm) alongside The Priests, the trio of classical singers from Northern Ireland with whom she performed on their last visit to Liverpool in 2012 to sing for Jospice at the Metropolitan Cathedral. Danielle’s grandfather died from cancer just before that concert but the Crosby singer’s performance was such that The Priests – a multi-platinum selling group who also happen to be parish priests – have asked her to join them again at the Phil.
Danielle was delighted to accept the offer. "I have been singing at Jospice’s Light up for Life candle ceremony in Crosby every Christmas since I was 11 and I know the work that Jospice do is unbelievable," added the former pupil of Sacred Heart Catholic High School, who is a member of St Peter and Paul’s parish.
After her grandfather realised her talents, she began singing lessons and performing at charity concerts until, aged 12, she was spotted by a lecturer from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. Today she is the official ‘voice’ of Liverpool City Council, singing at all their major events including a special service in Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral to mark the Battle of the Atlantic and the city’s annual Remembrance Service.
For tickets for ‘The Priests in Concert for Jospice’, contact the Liverpool Philharmonic Hall box office on 0151 709 3789 or Jospice on 0151 924 3812 (Monday–Friday, 9am–5pm).