West End Story

Growing up in Birmingham, and singing since the age of 3, the idea of actually making a living from belting out a tune never crossed the young Chris Holland’s mind.

The only trouble was, this kid could really, really belt out a tune.

And that meant it was really only a matter of time before that career in music found Chris, Kings College Taunton offering the somewhat surprised 12-year-old a music scholarship. A few years later, he won The Lloyd Webber Trophy at the national 1989 Eisteddfod festival in Bristol. In 1993, after learning how to handle a crowd by touring pubs, clubs, hotels and holiday camps, Chris auditioned for Miss Saigon on the West End. And, bejiggers, he got it.

“And that was really that,” he says, when we met up this afternoon at Café Grey. “For the next 20 odd but wonderful years, it was pretty much constant, moving from one great musical to another. It was …”

And then Chris met an Irish girl, Karen, a ballerina from Ballinteer, no less. And that was that. The duo found love in a hopeless place – namely, Newtownmountkennedy – the happy, loving couple moving there in 2014, to start a new life together.

“The music is still there, of course,” says Chris. “I teach, I still perform, and it’s really just a case of pulling all those great experiences – from the musicals, from the clubs, from all the parties – together in one performance. It’s a joy for me, because it’s like flitting through old diaries, and bringing up some magical sense memories through all these wonderful songs…”

Something us lucky Greystonians can experience when Chris takes over The Whale on Sunday, March 22nd, for a special Mother’s Day concert. So, just how did this West End star get all the way from there to here…?



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