When The Texas Tenors perform a benefit concert at the Miss Kansas Pageant, member J.C. Fisher will celebrate a special homecoming with special memories of the pageant. The 2015 Miss Kansas Pageant is going to be a homecoming for a couple whose lives first crossed on the Miss Kansas Pageant stage in 1997.
PrattTribune.com | By Gale Rose – When The Texas Tenors and Miss Kansas 1997 Jennifer Vannatta come to Pratt in June to celebrate 60 years of the Miss Kansas Pageant being in Pratt, it will be an emotional time for Vannatta and J.C. Fisher, founder of The Texas Tenors, because it was here their lives first crossed paths.
The Texas Tenors will perform a special benefit concert Friday, June 5 at the pageant to help raise money for the Miss Kansas Organization. The Miss Kansas contestants, and maybe even a former Miss America, will have a part in The Texas Tenors’ performance.
Tickets are available at selectaseat.com.
In 1997 Vannatta was a contestant and Fisher was the featured entertainer at the Miss Kansas Pageant. It was Fisher’s first paid singing gig and he was singing opposite Miss America Tara Dawn Holland.
But this performance paid off in ways he couldn’t have imagined and changed Vannatta and Fisher’s lives forever. Vannatta won the title that year and she won Fisher’s heart.
They swapped phone numbers during the Miss Kansas Parade and spent the summer writing letters and getting to know each other. They started dating and a year later when she gave up the crown, Fisher was sitting in the audience with Vannatta’s family.
He came up on stage, got down on one knee and proposed to Vannatta in front of a packed house. She said yes.
“The whole thing was kind of surreal,” Fisher said.
Their family took off. They have three children: Jackson 8, Jenson 6 and Jennings 5 plus the dog Jenny. The J’s starting each name is no coincidence.
Fisher’s career took off and went in a direction that has made his name, well, the group’s name, famous.
Fisher got together with two other singers from Texas, John Hagen and Marcus Collins, and formed The Texas Tenors and auditioned for America’s Got Talent. They were an instant hit and had tremendous success that opened the door for the group to become one of the best singing groups in the world.
They have a 3-time Emmy award winning PBS special that is airing across the county and a Billboard Top 5 Album “You Should Dream.” They have performed over 800 concerts around the world including a 24-city tour in the United Kingdom, Shanghai, China and played with the most prestigious symphonies in the world. They were named the No. 10 classical artist in 2014 according to Billboard Magazine. They are among the likes of Josh Grobin and Jackie Evancho and are just two out of the top 10 that are self produced, Fisher said.
The Texas Tenors are working on a new video and talking with PBS about another special and are working on a gospel album. Their stage show includes a collection of songs from “Les Miserables” gospel patriotic and Christmas music. They have performances scheduled for the next 18 months.
They produced a patriotic video, The Texas Tenors God Bless the USA, and got 600,000 hits. (Currently the video is at 1.1M Views.) At first it got from 2,000 to 3,000 views then a high ranking military showed it to a squadron and it just took off. Lee Greenwood sent a text saying it was a great job on the video.
They sing a wide range of song styles from county to classic to Broadway to contemporary and use their cowboy charm to create a memorable show. With audience participation and video and various themes, the show appeals to all audience members. Men that have seen the show have told Fisher they didn’t think they would like it but they like this show, Fisher said.
Miss Kansas is celebrating 60 years in Pratt this year and The Texas Tenors are performing a special concert Friday night of pageant week. It is a unique opportunity to see an amazing performance in Pratt, Fisher said.
The Texas Tenor story is proof that the Miss Kansas Pageant impacts lives beyond the contestants and Fisher is a great example of that, Vannatta said.
“Our roles have flipped flopped. He’s on the stage and I’m cheering him on,” Vannatta said. “I’m at home with kids full time.”
His busy schedule keeps Fisher on the road while Vannatta is a stay at home mom. But between the baseball games and school and homework, Vannatta stays busy in the pageant system.
She has been master of ceremonies for six state pageants and works a lot with her brother that oversees the Miss Kansas, Miss Nebraska, Miss Oklahoma, Miss Arkansas and Miss Illinois Pageants for the Miss USA Pageant system.
She helps out with the Miss Kansas Pageant in Pratt whenever she can and is on an advisory committee. She also does some freelance work on the side. If she can get a baby sitter, she’ll do whatever she can.
She will help with the KCPT pledge drive in June in Kansas City.
Fisher said he manages his time as best he can and gets home from a week to 10 days at a time. He likes to give Vannatta some one-on-one time and some alone time as well.
Because Pratt played such an important part in their lives, coming back to Pratt is almost therapeutic.
“It takes me back to what I love about J.C. and what attracted me to him,” Vannatta said.