Salina Journal | Salina.com – The Texas Tenors were made for television.
At least that was the intention of singers Marcus Collins, John Hagen and J.C. Fisher after meeting in Houston and becoming good friends while involved in music projects.
“We all have that country background, growing up on farms and in small towns,” said Collins, who originally hails from Iowa. “We had country roots, were classically trained and each of us has a unique voice.”
The trio decided to combine their unique harmonic blend of contemporary pop, classical and operatically trained voices and audition for one of the most popular singing reality shows on television — NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.”
“We formed to go on ‘America’s Got Talent,’ ” Collins said. “We knew it would reach a huge amount of people. And it definitely changed our lives.”
The Texas Tenors appeared on “America’s Got Talent” in the summer of 2009 and quickly became fan favorites. They ended up placing fourth in the finals, but exposure to millions of viewers helped jump start a career that’s now entering its eighth year.
Since the show aired, the three have performed more than 1,000 concerts around the world and released several CDs and DVDs. In 2013, they recorded an Emmy-winning PBS special, and they’re working on a second special to air later this year.
The Texas Tenors also have collaborated with some of the most prestigious symphonies in the U.S., which Collins said always is a thrill.
“There’s nothing like having 65 or 70 musicians backing you,” Collins said. “Nothing will ever replace that sound you get from live music and the way it lets you connect with people.”
The Texas Tenors will perform with the Salina Symphony March 5 at Stiefel Theatre for the Performing Arts, 151 S. Santa Fe. This concert is part of the Salina Symphony’s Family Concert Series and not part of its mainstage season package.
“We’ve heard wonderful things about the Salina Symphony, and we’re looking forward to coming there,” Collins said.
Tenors blend harmoniously
When Collins, Hagen and Fisher formed The Texas Tenors in 2009, they knew they had a special sound. Collins, who has worked as an actor in television and movies and in musicals such as “Hairspray” and “Forever Plaid,” is known as the “contemporary tenor” for his pop, rock and Broadway-trained voice.
Fisher is called the “romantic Tenor” for his operatic and country-flavored romantic ballads, while Hagen, simply known as “the Tenor,” has performed major roles in opera productions throughout the U.S.
What makes The Texas Tenors unique is not their individual voices, Collins said, but how they blend together as a harmonic whole.
“While there are some solos, we prefer to do the majority of our songs together,” he said. “Three different voices come together to sing songs audiences know and love.”
Making a connection
The Texas Tenors’ concerts have featured favorites from the world of pop, country, rock and opera, including renditions of “Nessun dorma,” “Wild Horses,” “Mountain Music,” “God Bless the USA,” “Unchained Melody” and “My Way.” There also is plenty of storytelling and frequent interaction with audience members, Collins said.
“We want to make a personal connection with the audience and let them get to know us as individuals,” he said. “We take them on a journey, let them get to know us as a group and have a lot of fun, with patriotic moments and some poignant moments, too.”
The Texas Tenors currently are putting the finishing touches on their next studio album and PBS special. They also keep busy promoting awareness for organizations such as The Child Fund International, Homes for Our Troops and The Mission Project while keeping up an intense touring schedule.
Collins said he hopes audience members will come away from their concerts both entertained and inspired.
“We feel like we’re living our dream, so we want to inspire them to live their dreams, too,” he said.