Albert Davies has been singing for a long time.
Now 90 years old, he began at age seven, when his mom put him in a choir “to keep me out of trouble I suppose,” he says.
Since then, he’s been the youngest choir member at the oldest church in Liverpool, soloed with the Liverpool Philharmonic at age 10, and sang at The Cavern Club a few years before The Beatles did and began their rise to fame.
Having grown up near them, he said he might have ended up being their drummer if they’d been closer in age.
He’s also sung as a soloist with the Vancouver Island Opera, and now performs with the Parksville and District Community Choir.
But in all that time, the baritone’s greatest thrill has been to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City this year on May 28.
“You know, that’s the greatest venue you can possibly sing in, in the world,” he said. “So, having done that, I’ve not much left to do.”
The opportunity came through a Victoria choir trip organizer named Peter Dent, said Davies, who invited him to take part in a Distinguished Concerts Singers International performance of Requiem by Johannes Brahms.
As the seven-movement piece is “a very complex and long work,” Davies was invited to participate because he’d sung in a performance of it before.
He joined dozens of other performers in New York where conductor Jonathan Griffith put them through their paces, and the group performed on May 28 to a packed hall.
Asked how the performance went, Davies said it’s hard to tell when you’re performing in it, “but the ovation was a standing ovation… and it lasted a long time, and all the reports since then have been fabulous.”
“It was an incredible experience,” he said. “Standing on the same stage that Pavarotti stood on, and Maria Callas and all the greatest singers in the world, that was a big thrill. That’s probably the highlight of my life now.”
Asked why he’s enjoying singing for so long, he said, “It’s a way of expressing yourself. It’s a way of feeling good. I’d be lost without it, I think.”
Davies said he figures this latest experience has been the climax of a very long career. “I think I’ve probably reached my end now. I’m not going to do any better than that… I’m proud of it.”