TribLive.com | By Mark Kanny – Getting a break is one thing. Making it pay off is another.
Three young tenors, each building a career in Houston, decided to form a group to compete on television in 2009. They used a fourth-place finish in the finals as a springboard to a concert and recording career as the Texas Tenors.
And they’re having a ball running with the opportunities their group’s success affords them. They have a children’s book coming out, called “Ruckus on the Ranch,” which they wrote and recorded. And they do charitable events for our troops coming home.
“We are living the American dream,” says one of the tenors, John Hagen. “Every day is like Christmas.”
Lawrence Loh will lead Pittsburgh Symphony Pops concerts featuring the Texas Tenors on April 24 to 26 at Heinz Hall, Downtown. They’ve already performed the show with Loh conducting the Northeast Pennsylvania Philharmonic in Wilkes-Barre and Scranton.
The tenors, J.C. Fisher, Marcus Collins and Hagen, were each classically trained, each finding his own mix of gigs. As a trio, they perform a wide range of styles, from country to classical, and Broadway to gospel.
The Heinz Hall show will include such favorites as “Amazing Grace,” “Nessun Dorma,” “Wild Horses” and “Music of the Night.”
The Texas Tenors were formed to compete on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” in 2009.
“It was J.C.’s idea,” Hagen says. “He approached Marcus and me about this. We were doing our own things. When he told me about this idea, I was such a classical purist I thought it sounded strange. I’d never seen the TV show.”
They made their audition tape for the TV show at a state Miss America pageant, an opportunity to perform together that arose because Fisher’s wife works for a company that puts on pageants.
“We made it all the way to the finish in September,” Hagen says. “We were on TV for how many weeks — it gave us a platform.”
After their initial success, the singers have built a career their way.
“One of the things we feel good about is we haven’t done anything in a traditional way,” he says. “The music business is constantly changing. We formed our label and bucked the trend to be successful.”
Their CD “You Should Dream” has been on Billboard’s classical/crossover charts for 61 consecutive weeks.
The Texas Tenors are a self-managing group, which uses booking agents for concerts but otherwise divides responsibilities among the singers.
Hagen handles the vocal arrangements, works with orchestrators and handles bookkeeping and contractual matters. Fisher handles technology, such as videos used in shows. Collins handles the group’s communications.
Mark Kanny is classical music critic for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7877 or [email protected].
The Texas Tenors
With: Pittsburgh Symphony Pops, Lawrence Loh, conductor
When: 7:30 p.m. April 24-25, 2:30 p.m. April 26
Where: Heinz Hall, Downtown