Even as a child Church of Ireland Rector, Reverend David McBeth loved singing.
Memories of his mum and aunt encouraging him to sing at home, guitar in hand, are vivid.
“I’ve always loved singing,” the Dungiven and Bovevagh rector told the ‘Journal’.
With a passion for country music, the 49-year-old was in a group at school and would sing often during his studies at Trinity College, Dublin. In later years, he travelled the country with the band ‘Gentry’, entertaining audiences at weddings and other functions.
“It gives me a real buzz, and it seems to make people happy,” he said.
Rev. McBeth, who was ordained in 2006 in the Derry and Raphoe Diocese, confesses to his share of Elvis impersonations in the past, but says his favourite singers include Vince Gill, Kenny Rogers and Don Williams.
Locally his congregation in Dungiven and Bovevagh are well used to his talents, and recently he gave an impromptu performance at Bradagh Fold in Dungiven during their 25th anniversary celebrations.
“If I hear a song and I like it I’ll try it,” he says. “I’m not ‘X Factor’ standard, but I think I’m good enough!”
This weekend, the dad-of-three will see a lifelong dream come true when he launches his CD at the Waterside Theatre in the city.
‘The Impossible Mile’ is a 15-track compilation of gospel music.
Asked about the inspiration for the album title Rev McBeth said: “The title is from a song about the ‘impossible mile’ that Jesus journeyed to his death on the cross and is a reminder of the cost of that journey for him.”
Talking of the title he also said: “The title also reminds me of how our journey in ordinary life can sometimes feel like the ‘impossible mile’, but there is strength from knowing that Jesus knows what it means to make that sort of a journey.”
‘The Impossible Mile’ is being launched at concerts on Saturday 27th and Monday 29th April in the Waterside Theatre. Rev McBeth will be performing songs from the album and will be joined by a number of local acts. Such is the popularity of the events that Saturday evening is sold out, although some tickets are available for Monday evening.
Money raised from album sales will help towards a Mission trip, with CMS Ireland, to Kenya that David and a number of his parishioners will be joining this summer. As part of the trip they will be helping to build a library as well as working in slums around Nairobi.
Supporting Rev. McBeth this weekend will be a bus load of supporters from Dungiven and Bovevagh, and his “number one fan”, his wife April.
“Everyone has been very supportive, I am delighted with it,” he says. “It has turned out well!”
‘The Impossible Mile’ will be available at The Waterside Theatre concerts tomorrow night and Monday evening, both at 8pm. It will also be on sale from The Faith Mission Bookshop, on Spencer Road, Londonderry. It may also be purchased from Rev McBeth directly.
Contact details are available at www.dungivenbovevaghparishes.com