WRITTEN BY DEBRA LYNN
JUNO award winning artists, Victor Micallef, Fraser Walters and Clifton Murray of the internationally renowned singing group, The Tenors, put on a benefit concert at the North Island Secondary School gym in Port McNeill.
This was also a homecoming for one of the group’s members, as Murray grew up in the Port McNeill area. Clifton’s mother, Deborah Murray, introduced the Tenors to the crowd, mentioning that amazing things can happen when you simply ask.
The result was this benefit concert with all proceeds going to food awareness and the Wild Heart Music program for North Island communities.
The combination of the “pure” power of the group’s finely tuned operatic voices with the lively beat of pop tunes was a real lift.
These guys know how to have fun, too. Their joyfulness was extremely contagious.
The Tenors, with over 1,000 live performances under their belt, really know how to “change things up” to make a venue come alive.
Not long into the show, they dashed into crowd to ham it up with the audience. They got down on their knees and took the hand of a front row female audience member while singing a romantic Italian courtship song.
The fun scene led to much riotous laughter and giggling.
The Tenors also showcased some local talent, including the Wild Heart Children’s Choir, the ‘Namgis Drummers and a local youth “star on the rise,” Naomi Triebwasser…or simply “Naomi.”
The ‘Namgis Drummers provided an injection of Indigenous music and regalia, with their timeless chants and colourful button capes. You couldn’t get more of a contrast with The Tenors in their suits. Probably more than the usual amount of cerebral circuitry was active as people took it all in. The Tenors paid homage to the drummers by proclaiming “you honour us with your presence.”
Naomi performed the Amy Winehouse tune, “Back to Black,” and sounding uncannily like her —but with something a little extra.
I’m not sure if she sang some verses in an Indigenous language, or that it just sounded like it, but it made for an interesting fusion of pop and First Nation’s influence.
Adding another dimension to the experience—and perhaps also an allusion to “the cycle of life”—were the youthful voices of The Wild Heart Children’s Choir. I noticed that the children were aided by a conductor who kept the group unified, on cue and looking professionally polished.
Before the finale, The Tenors performed some musical theatre, which included some acting—even choreography and dance! To a medley of very upbeat songs, including, “Oh, What a Night,” “Mambo Italiano, “Time for a Moondance,” “I’m Hooked on a Feeling,” “You’re Just Too Good to be True” and “Volare,” The Tenors slid, shuffled, twirled, shimmied, battled and teased. It was yet another clever way of stimulating our entertainment-hungry brain cells.
For the finale, all performers returned to the stage to sing “Hallelujah.” In fact, The Tenors even ordered the audience rise out of their chairs and join in. When the audience would not sit down after it was over, they were treated to an encore performance of “something completely different,”—music by the 80s rock group Queen. It was that one extra accent in a show full of many delightful surprises.
The Tenor’s have performed with some of biggest names in music today, including Sir Paul McCartney, Sarah McLachlan, Sting, Justin Beiber, Andrea Bocelli, Sir Elton John, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Lionel Richie and David Foster. They have also performed for four US presidents, Oprah Winfrey and even Her Majesty the Queen. It’s been quite the remarkable journey for a local North Island boy.
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