MELANIE MINTY: More than an anthem singer, Donnelly treasures time with family at concert

White Rock's Mark Donnelly feels his true mission in life is to be a composer

White Rock-based singers Colleen and Mark Donnelly.

White Rock-based singers Colleen and Mark Donnelly.

Ubi thesaurus vester est, ibi et cor vestrum erit. (Luke 12:34).

Ah, nothing like a verse from the Bible in Latin to set the scene for this story. It means, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” It defines Mark Donnelly. He gave me this dictum, and he does live it every day.

Of course, hockey fans know Mark as “Mr. O Canada” for his interactive performances of the national anthem at Vancouver Canuck games. Everybody sings. It is a winning performance. Another facet of Donnelly is his 173-pound weight loss over the past few years. This has also made him somewhat famous. But you can read all about these accomplishments via the Internet. Here’s some things you maybe don’t know about this White Rock native.

He plays hockey with his boys, and sings with his family. All the Donnelly children are home-schooled in White Rock, and Donnelly calls this their family time. “It’s a good thing we all like the same kind of music, Latin mass, Gilbert & Sullivan and hockey,” he says.

And after decades of making his way as an opera tenor, he feels his true mission in life is to be a composer.

Donnelly is producing a concert with his daughter, Colleen Donnelly, to showcase and premiere his musical setting of Alfred Noyes’ classic ballad of love and death, “The Highwayman.” In the summer of 1995, Mark composed a melody for one verse as part of the Ward Music summer program.  Twenty years later, verses two to six came to life. Over the course of about two months – 15 actual days of composing – the work was completed. So, 15 days, but 20 years.

For now, you have the opportunity to celebrate this work with Mark and Colleen – family time, family funded. The concert is called “Love Songs Old & New,” with lyrics and tunes for lovers. The songs are from the medieval courts to Broadway show tunes. Love knows no age, but all ages.

The concert is on Friday, Feb. 12 at the Roy Barnett Recital Hall at the UBC School of Music, 6361 Memorial Rd., Vancouver. Tickets are $20 and $10 for students and seniors. Visit or call 1-800-838-3006 ext. 1. If this concert is successful, Mark might be encouraged to bring it to Surrey in the spring. Yes.