The Texas Tenors also are musical rangers.
"We’re all different kinds of tenors," said Marcus Collins, a classically trained pop singer. "We have very different voices. We try to sell our show with music that we love.
"We love country, pop, Broadway, big inspirationals. Our favorite songs have Big West, (Francis Ford) Coppola-esque arrangements."
That’s because the Texas Tenors sing that traditional tune with the 60-member Stockton Symphony during its season-ending Pops & Picnic concert Saturday at University of the Pacific’s Alex G. Spanos Center.
The highest-achieving vocal group in the history of "America’s Got Talent" sings 20 songs, from "Nessun Dorma" to the Rolling Stones’ "Wild Horses," "Tonight" ("West Side Story") and Frank Sinatra’s "My Way."
Peter Jaffe concludes his 19th season by conducting the orchestra during the tenorless "Magnificent Seven" and "Silverado." The Houston-based vocalists are accompanied by a five-piece band.
"We perform with a lot of symphonies," said Collins, who lives in Los Angeles. "We pick the songs, arrange the vocals and a librarian in Nashville sends the charts ahead."
The tenors have performed with the Desert Symphony of Palm Desert three seasons in a row. They were joined by David Hasselhoff on April 10.
Oddly enough, this "happy accident" began during a Miss USA pageant in Lawrence, Kan.
Collins, John Hagen and JC Fisher, all with opera backgrounds, reconnected. The idea of teaming up for "America’s Got Talent" was broached.
There was nothing magical about their first harmonizing.
"We started rehearsing over the phone," Collins said. "John prepared the parts, sang them to us and we sang them back."
They "finally got together" in a hotel conference room in Lawrence and sang an a cappella version of the Eagles’ "Seven Bridges Road."
‘We’re going, ‘Oh, well, this sounds pretty good,’ " Collins said. "We thought maybe this could be something."
They tape-recorded some songs, and "our friends were saying, ‘You’ve gotta send it in. They’re gonna love it.’ They were very encouraging."
Next up? "America’s Got Talent." They finished fourth in 2009: "It was amazing. It was kind of overwhelming." The reality was nerve-racking.
"It was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Collins, who characterized the tenors’ ages as their "late 30s and 40s." "It’s something you really appreciate. The values are great for your career. It’s also something you never wanna repeat. It’s extremely stressful. There’s a lot of pressure. You have only 90 minutes to show America what you can do after waiting 14 hours."
Probably because none of them is from Texas, Collins was coy about the tenors’ hometowns.
Collins did say he attended Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where he earned a degree in vocal performance, "thought about" a career in teaching but wound up singing and acting. He’s appeared in 100 TV productions and 25 films.
Hagen attended the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, and Fisher graduated from Wichita State University.
Collins was "born in a really small town," he said. "I learned to sing by listening to the radio and in the church choir. I started when I was 5 doing (TV) commercials."
He played high school basketball and, when he saw a "sign that said they needed someone to sing for a game, the music teacher said, ‘Why don’t you try?’ It was a true high-school-musical, ‘Glee’ kind of story."
His parents were "more ingrained in country music." Collins learned from hearing – and trying to sound like – Garth Brooks, George Michael and Freddie Mercury.
"I always had a dream of living and working as a performer in movies and TV," he said. "I had many kinds of different jobs. Nothing really caught fire until the Texas Tenors."
Appearing on national TV upped that temperature. They’ve staged 600 shows, traveled to 20 countries, have a steady gig in Branson, Mo., released four CDs and a DVD ("You Should Dream") that’s being shown on PBS-TV stations.
Collins is proudest of "You Should Dream," an independently recorded and released CD that reached No. 9 on the classical chart and No. 3 on "U.S. Heat" in 2013.
"That makes us feel really good," he said. "Making it into the top 10 with fully produced acts on big labels. We created every arrangement, picked every song, produced ourselves, paid for it, mixed it ourselves. I spent hour after hour after hour doing the mixing. A lot of blood, sweat and tears. It stands up. We wanna make sure we perform music we love and that speaks to us, our values and personalities. Music that will move and inspire people.
"We love to see their reaction. We love that as much as we do singing. It makes us feel good to do that on our own."Tags: concert, film, movie, music, release, singer, tv