Resident anthem singer for the Chicago Cubs returns to Blue Island to perform

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Less than six months after debuting at The Lyric Theater singer John Vincent is back at the Blue Island venue, which he calls one of his favorite places to perform.

An Evening with John Vincent on Jan. 5, 2024, includes stories about the native of Chicago’s South Side as well as covers of Louis Armstrong, Johnny Cash and Frank Sinatra songs.

“I talk a lot about the experiences I had in my life — the good and the bad. I talk about what I think is important and that’s spreading kindness especially now,” said Vincent who lives in Chicago’s North Park community.

“It’s always a good time to do that especially when it seems like everybody is feeling crazy, feeling scared, feeling alone. This is the time to make a difference.

“I was bullied when I was a kid and suffer from mental illness. My father has Lewy body Parkinson’s. It’s been hard on my family. I just try to keep (it) real with some laughter, with some tears, with some great stories.”

Those stories include being the resident performer from 2001 to 2018 at the former downtown Chicago location of Ditka’s, the steakhouse named for former Chicago Bears head coach Mike Ditka.

Vincent, whose parents live in Homer Glen, recalled being 29 years old and working at an accounting and finance recruiting firm when a co-worker visited the original Ditka’s and helped to connect the restaurant with the performer.

“Before I could audition for the manager, Mrs. (Diane) Ditka walked up to me. Right on the spot she said, ‘Sing “New York, New York.”’ She said, ‘He’s hired’ right there. Me and her are extremely close to this day,” said Vincent, who cited “Fly Me to the Moon” as among his favorite songs to perform.

“Coach and Mrs. Ditka are like second parents. I’m still in contact with them today and am going to spend 10 days with them in February.”

Performing at Dikta’s led to Vincent becoming the resident national anthem singer for the Chicago Cubs in 2003 after former pitching coach Larry Rothschild and players including former catcher Joe Girardi heard Vincent sing at the restaurant.

“(That) gave me the opportunity to sing the Anthem — one or two a year. When Mr. (Tom) Ricketts took over, I kept doing more and more — 15 to 20 a year. I do opening day. The World Series was the best one I was able to do, the most exciting,” Vincent said.

Vincent, who is also the resident singer at the private Astor Club in Chicago, performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” for Game 4 of the 2016 World Series at Wrigley Field.

“I was very nervous,” he said.

“The thing I remember the most about the World Series is the tweet I got from Lada Gaga: ‘Wow! John Vincent THATS HOW YOU SING THE national anthem! Goosebumps Let’s go @Cubs!!!’”

Vincent’s full-time singing career has included partnering with the Chicago Police Department for 2020 shows outside nursing homes, performing in Copenhagen during Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Summer Olympics and gigs at Duke University in North Carolina, Paris Las Vegas Hotel & Casino and the Pentagon.

An Evening with John Vincent

When: 7:30 p.m. Jan. 5, 2024

Where: The Lyric Theater, 12952 Western Ave., Blue Island

Tickets: $39.95 main floor; $34.95 reserved

Information: 708-972-0700;

Jessi Virtusio is a freelance reporter for the Daily Southtown.


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