WFCourier.com | CEDAR FALLS | By Melody Parker – You can hear the anticipation in John Hagen’s voice.
Hagen — one-third of the popular trio The Texas Tenors — is looking forward to a performance in his old stomping grounds.
“It’s an indescribable feeling, having grown up from day one in the Cedar Valley. I’ve lived other places and live most of the time in Branson, Mo., but I always come back. I still have a home in Cedar Falls. We’ll be performing for people who were my teachers when I was a kid, friends I grew up with — an amazing experience,” said the Cedar Falls native.
The Texas Tenors perform Wednesday at the Gallagher-Bluedorn Performing Arts Center.
Hagen, Marcus Collin (the pop singer) and JC Fisher (the country one) are known for effortlessly moving from country to classical, Broadway to contemporary pop in a show that also includes tunes from an upcoming album.
“Some things people haven’t heard us sing before, but still sticking to the format of singing all kinds of music,” said Hagen, an opera singer who has performed with operas and symphonies across the country and on Broadway.
The Texas Tenors debuted in 2009 on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” and remain the show’s highest-ranking vocal group. The classically trained singers joined forces for the show and their stand-out performances gave them opportunities Hagen once could only imagine.
“I thought when we first started that, hey, we could do some stuff, maybe make a little money, see where it goes, but I couldn’t imagine this level of success. We stay booked one-and-a-half to two years ahead, and we’re working with the best symphonies in the country. I feel blessed beyond measure.”
Their success story doesn’t leave them time to rest on their laurels.
They have performed more than 800 concerts worldwide, including a 24-city tour in the United Kingdom and China.
Hagen said the trio continues to evolve musically.
“We aren’t the same group we were five years ago. We’ve developed our own musical style and sound that plays to our strengths. That resonates with audiences who love to hear the variety.”
In 2014, Billboard ranked the trio as the 10th most successful classical artists in the world. They have multiple recordings to their credit, including a Christmas album. Last year’s live “The First Five Years” shared Billboard’s top 10 list with their 2013 release, “You Should Dream.”
TripAdvisor.com lists The Texas Tenors as Branson’s top attraction, and they perform about 60 concerts annually. A Christmas DVD filmed at the Starlite Theater will be released this fall. Their PBS special won Emmy awards, and a second PBS special is due out in 2017.
Hagen was especially thrilled to perform with The Righteous Brothers’ Bill Medley.
“Bill has given us some great advice, and we’ve collaborated on a few things. We recorded ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ and shot video of Bill singing it, so we’ll be doing an interactive duet, which is cool because the song is marking its 50th anniversary and is the most played song of the 20th century,” he said.
Although the group has booking agents and publicists, they are self-managed and formed their own record label. “We want to do what we want to do, not have it dictated to us. It’s nice to be in the driver’s seat of our career and the projects we’re interested in,” Hagen explained.
Their reach has expanded with the newly released children’s book and companion CD, “Ruckus On The Ranch,” a western-style, tuneful romp with cute critters illustrated by Brian Fitzgerald. A second children’s book project will be released this fall in conjunction with the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
The group also believes in paying it forward, and is active in several charities, including Homes For Our Troops, Mission Project Kansas City and Habitat for Humanity.
Hagen describes being a Texas Tenor as “an incredible, life-changing experience.
“Some of the feedback we get from people about how a certain piece of music touched their lives, the heartfelt letters we get from people, feeling good, being able to give something back and make a difference … amazing.
“I feel like we work hard, and we’ve been given a great opportunity. It’s the most creative life I can imagine — the sky’s the limit,” Hagen said, laughing. “I’m having the time of my life!”
The Texas Tenors
July 15, 2015 – Cedar Falls, IA
With their Emmy Award winning PBS special now airing across the country, and Billboard chart topping albums, it’s easy to see why The Texas Tenors are quickly becoming America’s favorite new tenors. Since their whirlwind debut five years ago on NBC’s America’s Got Talent, The Texas Tenors have accumulated a long list of awards, accolades and excited fans. They have performed more than 800 concerts around the world, including a 24-city tour in the United Kingdom, Shanghai, China and collaborations with some of the most prestigious symphonies, performing arts centers and arenas in the United States. People are clearly enjoying their talent as they were recently named the #10 Classical Artist in the world for 2014 according to Billboard magazine.