The following tribute to John McCourt has been provided by his son (also named John) -
My father was John McCourt - the vocalist with the trio and he was a
very close friend of Terry Hogarth (the accordion player). Both lived
for the majority of their lives in Maryport and they spent many hours
together exploring sheet music and rehearsing different pieces. Sadly,
my father died in March 2007 - 3 days after his 82nd birthday. He had
suffered badly in his last few years and ended his days in a Care Home
following the onset of Alzheimers disease.
Terry I know still lives in
the street parallel to my father's former home, is in good health and
practices daily I believe. Despite the limited line-up of Soundette,
Terry was able to conjure up the sound of an entire group on his own
which gave the trio a full and rich sound.
In his prime, my father had a beautiful tenor voice and could have made
a fine classical singer with appropriate coaching. However, his great
love was the popular song and he work for many years as a Master of
Ceremonies in local clubs and developed an extensive repertoire of"standards" and more up-to-date popular songs. He also won song contests
regularly and there were many trophies in his house when I undertook the
dismal task of clearing it out.
At their peak, Soundette travelled far and wide throughout the North of
England and my father maintained a hard-working schedule "on the road"
despite holding down a physically demanding factory "day job". At the
week-end, he would often not be back from a "gig" until 3 or 4 in the
morning, but he could always be relied on to be up at a civilised hour,
to tend his garden or do other household DIY.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of his career as a popular singer
was the fact that, in private and off the stage, my father was a quiet
and shy man who kept his thoughts and feelings to himself. However, when
he took to the stage he became a different person - a lively and
animated performer with a very good grasp of stage craft and how to
relate to an audience.