The Texas Tenors lend vocal power to symphonic concert in Whiting

Posted On:08.03.2018 | WHITING, IN – The Texas Tenors are adding their vocal verve to the Whiting Park Festival Orchestra’s Aug. 18 concert.

Known for grabbing attention on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” the trio will bring show tunes and pop hits to the 7:30 p.m. outdoor performance at Whiting Lakefront Park’s pavilion.

“We have very different voices, which kind of makes for, I think, an interesting evening for folks; the sound is very unique, I think,” group member Marcus Collins said by phone.

Finalists nine years ago on “America’s Got Talent,” The Texas Tenors roped in three Emmy Awards for “You Should Dream,” their first PBS special.

“All three of us lived in Texas, and we formed our group there,” said Collins, who now lives in Sun Valley, Calif.

Also featuring JC Fisher and John Hagen, The Texas Tenors will serve up a slice of Broadway at the free orchestral performance along Lake Michigan.

“We’re going to be performing music from the musical ‘Les Miserables,’” said Collins, adding that “Somewhere” from “West Side Story” also is on the program.

“We’re going to be performing ‘You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’ — the Righteous Brothers hit,” Collins said.

The Texas Tenors will be backed by their four-piece band, in addition to the orchestra, which will have more than 40 musicians.

The spiritual “Amazing Grace” is on the bill, while a touch of Americana-themed material likewise is planned, according to the 43-year-old Collins.

The Texas Tenors are poised to “bring some really great popular and patriotic music to life,” according to Robert Vodnoy, conductor and music director of the Whiting Park Festival Orchestra.

“The arrangements are just spectacular,” Vodnoy, a Valparaiso resident, said. “The program is a deeply moving look at music that’s close to the heart of America, sung by three really wonderful tenors. They have really great voices.”

Collins and company are on their “RISE” tour, which takes its name from the trio’s 2017 album.

The disc features country-edged pop tunes such as the Eagles’ “Desperado” and John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy.”

Likewise included is Irving Berlin classic’s patriotic anthem, “God Bless America.”

“RISE” also is the title of The Texas Tenors’ second PBS special.

Aside from Public Broadcasting Service exposure, the trio has toured the United Kingdom and China, bringing along their experience as classically trained artists.

Hagen, for instance, has displayed his classical bent at New York City’s Lincoln Center, while performing Verdi and Beethoven with numerous symphonies.

For marketing purposes, each singer is given a specific identity.

Fisher is “The Romantic Tenor,” Hagen is simply “The Tenor” and Collins is dubbed “The Contemporary Tenor.”

The Texas Tenors control their career path in more ways than one, as they are established as a self-produced and self-managed entity.

“Not only do we perform, but we also run the business of the group,” Collins said. “We manage ourselves and we handle all of the contracts with agents and all the travel.

“We’re involved in every aspect,” added the singer, noting that the involvement carries over to “production of the music.”

Collins and his comrades are currently promoting a new CD, “A Collection of Broadway and American Classics.”

With a reputation as a classical crossover trio, The Texas Tenors mix in “a touch of cowboy charm” for live shows, publicity material states.

“I did train classically in college, but I’m more of a pop singer,” Collins said.

The triumvirate of tenor voices is able to roll out everything from current pop music to classical works. Or as The Texas Tenors also put it, they can swing “from Bruno Mars to Puccini.”

A rainstorm abbreviated the trio’s 2016 appearance with the Whiting Park Festival Orchestra.

“We invited the audience to come into the pavilion with us,” said Vodnoy, noting a shortened concert with The Texas Tenors took place with the enclosed protection afforded by the pavilion.

Vodnoy said concertgoers “sat around the orchestra.”

Meanwhile, the Aug. 18 concert at Whiting Lakefront Park also will boast a taste of a classic Western.

Vodnoy said his orchestra will perform “a medley of themes” from a film with a famous Elmer Bernstein score, “The Magnificent Seven” (1960).

Likewise slated for performance, according to Vodnoy, is “The American River.”

Arranged by Mike Lewis, the piece features music by the famous American composers George Gershwin and Stephen Foster.

Whiting Park Festival Orchestra presents ‘RISE: The Texas Tenors’

When: 7:30 p.m. Aug. 18

Whiting Lakefront Park, 119th and Front streets

Admission: Free; parking is $5


Bob Kostanczuk is a freelance reporter for the Post-Tribune.

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