Our News Story!

Cabaret star Conor Taggart sings while he’s winning

Anne Hailes
20 February, 2017 01:00
Topics Anne Hailes conor taggart Les Miserables mixed marriage mixed marriage association phat katz
Cabaret star Conor Taggart sings while he’s winning
Conor playing the part of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables
Michael Buble move over, Conor Taggart is waiting in the wings. At 19 years of age and still studying at Queen’s University, this young man is hitting the headlines.

Since he was a toddler he’s been singing, he can’t help it, even when I’m sitting over a cup of tea and scones he’ll break into song to illustrate a point.

I was lucky to tie him down to an interview as he is either studying, rehearsing, singing in cabaret clubs, at weddings, restaurants and most recently funerals, teaching singing, playing badminton or out with his girlfriend.

“Graduating in IT and Business Studies is important but my dream is to sing full time but I know it’s a risk.”

And he doesn’t take risks.

“At the moment our group, Phat Katz is an eight-piece and we do everything from swing to songs from the shows, whatever the customer requires.

“The boys are all professionals, we have a professional sound engineer with every gig and we carry all our own equipment, we leave nothing to chance.”

And the bookings roll in, in December over 25 dates, sometimes two in one day with something very special soon – the lead role in the production of Les Miserables at the Lagan Valley Island Theatre.

When he was 10, Conor and his parents spent a weekend in London. He’d heard the music from Les Mis and when they realised it was on in one of the West End theatres, he just had to see it.

But there was only one ticket left in the upper circle.

“My parents weren’t too keen for me to it on my own but I was so enthusiastic they allowed me to go while they waited.

“It was one of those moments in life you never forget and there and then I made a promise to myself that one day I would play Jean Valjean, prisoner 24601 who becomes a hero.”

Well, his ambition has been fulfilled, three times over: at school, in the Belfast School of Performing Arts and now in the Fusion production in Lisburn.

His cabaret set features a huge range of songs from Sinatra to Buble, from jazz to songs from the shows, from Galway Girl to Sweet Caroline and, more likely than not, Bring Him Home from Les Mis will still his audience before receiving a standing ovation.

“It’s a difficult song but I studied with opera singer Rebekah Coffey and thanks to her I have learned to develop my range as a tenor, how my body works, breathing and supporting the voice rather than pushing it and, thanks to her, I tell my pupils, ‘don’t act, be’.”

Where next for this engaging young man? Big smile and a shrug of the shoulders.

“I’m only in year one of a four year course at Queens but the West End is my goal!”

Remember the name. Les Miserables is at the Island Centre Lisburn from March 1 to 4.