Texas Tenors kick off Deer Valley Festival with a patriotic concert
July 1, 2014
Unlike some of the men’s singing groups such as the Three Tenors and Il Divo, the Texas Tenors weren’t assembled by a music producer.
The three vocalists — Marcus Collins, John Hagen and J.C. Fisher, who will perform a Deer Valley Music Festival concert with the Utah Symphony at Deer Valley on July 4 were all friends before Fisher decided to turn them into a singing group, according to Collins.
"J.C. came up with the idea to form the group and go audition for ‘America’s Got Talent’ in 2009," Collins told The Park Record during a phone call from his home in Los Angeles, Calif. "We rehearsed over the phone because we didn’t live in the same towns."
The trio’s first, big-event live performance was during a pageant produced by Fisher’s wife, Jennifer Vannatta, a former Miss Kansas.
"She runs pageants around the country, so we got together and sang at one and we recorded the performance and sent it into ‘America’s Got Talent,’" Collins said.
The NBC reality contest show brought the Texas Tenors to Houston to sing for the judges.
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The trio went onto the quarterfinals, the semi finals and then the finals, where it placed fourth, Collins said.
Since then the Tenors did a PBS special, "You Should Dream," during which they partnered with the Utah’s local PBS affiliates, KUED and KBYU, to give out tickets in support of PBS and the Utah Symphony.
The PBS affiliates will be at the Utah Symphony concert at Deer Valley as well, Collins said.
"This show, from the beginning to end, was all arranged by us," he said. "We’ll do a patriotic medley, which will include ‘God Bless America,’ ‘Battle Hymn of the Republic’ and some other things."
The group will also perform "God Bless the U.S.A.," which was made popular by Lee Greenwood. The song, which the Texas Tenors performed in "America’s Got Talent," is one of the tracks on their new Top 10 album, "You Should Dream."
"We pay tribute the veterans throughout the concert, and during this one, we have them and their families to stand," Collins said. "We’ll also perform the classic pop hits, ‘Unchained Melody’ and ‘My Way.’
"I know there will be some massive fireworks during ‘My Way’ and the symphony will perform ‘The Star-Spangled Banner,’" he said. "There will be other music that the Utah Symphony will play on its own as well. So it will be a lot of fun and a very moving concert for everyone, including us."
Each of the tenors is classically trained, and the singers found their way into music through different paths.
"My dad was a huge influence on my life and he loved music," Collins said. "He sang in the church choir and was a high-school counselor."
Collins’ father encouraged his son to sing.
"When I was 4, I began singing for family and friends," Collins said. "I started in talent shows, and he pushed me out to sing."
Hagen’s family was musical as well.
"His father taught music and so has John," Collins said.
Fisher got into music late.
"He was almost the real-life version of ‘High School Musical,’" Collins said. "He started off playing basketball and they needed someone to sing the National Anthem for a basketball game and got the bug. He joined the choir shortly after that."
These different musical approaches have given the Texas Tenors a special artistic quality.
"John has more of a classical background," Collins said. "J.C. is more country and opera and I have musical theater and pop background. So the combination of those voices is unique and I don’t know that very many people would put three very different tenor voices together, but somehow it works."
The three also takes on different duties on the business side of the group as well.
"I do the lighting and then set up the show’s running order," Collins said. "John does all of our vocal arrangements and J.C. does a lot of the video and technical elements of the show."
After all the years they have spent together singing, the Texas Tenors still self-mange themselves, Collins said.
"I handle the calendar and travel," he said. "John handles the contracts and J.C. does our liaisons with the bands."
That independence has freed the group to work with some of their favorite nonprofit organizations, such as Homes for Our Troops and ChildFund International.
"We reach thousands of people through our shows and through Twitter and Facebook and we feel like those are chances for us to give back in some way," Collins said. "We have to take advantage of those opportunities to help people and work with these causes. Otherwise we would be doing a disservice to ourselves, our families and the people who need help. We know veterans and their families’ sacrifices made it possible for us to do what we do. It wouldn’t be right if we didn’t do something."
The Utah Symphony | Utah Opera’s Deer Valley Music Festival will present the Texas Tenors’ "Let Freedom Sing" on Friday, July 4, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $32 to $60 and are available by visiting http://www.artix.org or http://www.deervalleymusicfestival.org.
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