The following is a guest editorial from TCPalm.com published on March 17th, 2017.
It is with a heavy heart that I tell this story about one of our area’s great entertainers — Noel Kingston.
He left his earthly home to join the heavenly choir on March 3, 2017. It was a sudden passing, so it has left his numerous fans in shock.
Although Noel and his wife Una lived in Boca Raton, he was well-known in the Jupiter-Tequesta area, having brought his wonderful gift of a beautiful Irish tenor voice and gentle style of entertaining to us on a weekly basis at McCarthy’s Pub in Tequesta.
He arrived from Ireland in 1964
As an entertainer, he arrived from Ireland in 1964. Exploring his career possibilities led him on a journey that all entertainers would envy.
He had a radio show featuring Irish music for more than 25 years in the New York tri-state area. He also performed on television and was the first Irish-born television personality to be the commentator for the famous New York City St.Patrick’s Day Parade.
Kingston had his own Irish-American orchestra that performed at numerous venues, including Carnegie Hall, Madison Square Garden, Lincoln Center and the Kennedy Center. He relocated to South Florida in 1994.
I met him through Irish entertainer Brendan Grace when Brendan was doing a charitable concert for St. Patrick’s Building Fund. Kingston and his keyboard provided the backup for Grace.
Shortly afterward, he started a weekly stint at McCarthy’s on Tequesta Drive. In between gigs, he traveled to the west coast of Florida, but also still entertained at Tequesta Country Club and St. Jude Catholic Church’s annual St. Patrick’s Day event.
He lent his talents
When McCarthy’s was sold, he lent his talents to the Sugar Cane Club in Jupiter and Cobblestone Cafe in Tequesta.
Last year, he returned to his north county home, at McCarthy’s Pub in Tequesta. He brought his audience with him from as far away as Delray and Boca and built up a continually growing fan base throughout South Florida.
“He was just a kind man and a fantastic entertainer and made Monday nights at the pub a tradition,” Brendan McCarthy said. “We had so many conversations about life and people, and he kept telling me how grateful he was that people still enjoyed his music after all these years. I will miss him greatly,”
From concerts and festivals to cabaret and musical tours on cruise lines, Kingston never stopped bringing his wonderful charm and music to an adoring public. Now as I reflect on one of his greatest gifts, I think about the numerous times we sat and sang all of the songs that have survived two World Wars, a Great Depression and numerous worldwide catastrophes.
His American citizenship
Noel was very proud of his American citizenship. He’d end each evening with a salute to each branch of the service, including the Coast Guard at my request. He asked everyone to stand and sing “God Bless America.” He also loved to play and sing those special old songs like the patriotic songs by George M. Cohen: “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy”; “For it was Mary”; “You’re a Grand Old Flag” and “Give My Regards to Broadway.” He also sang long-lived folk songs: “You Are My Sunshine,” “Shanty Town” and “Take Me Out to the Ball Game.”
And, I haven’t even started on the great Irish tunes like “Whiskey in the Jar” — with Kingston leading us and bringing joy to so many. There was never a dry eye in the audience when he sang “My Old Man.”
Unless you come from a family that gathers together to sing these old songs, the past couple of generations have never even heard of them. Now that he is gone, who is left to protect and teach the old standby songs?
An honor …
Kingston leaves his loving wife of many years, Una, two sons, Noel Jr. and Paul, and two grandchildren, Nikki and Mark. He is joining his beloved daughter Mary, who died several years ago. She and her father had recorded songs together. He missed her so much, and would talk about her every time we got together.
It has been a honor to have known this gentle man with the mighty tenor voice and laughing eyes.
The definition of troubadour is … performer of songs, a person who travels and performs poetry and songs.
It should state: Noel Kingston — who brought happiness to so many through his music.