Bringing together the world of classical music with contemporary pop, vocal quartet The Canadian Tenors are making quite a name for themselves all over the world. Whether it is performing for the likes of American President Barack Obama, sharing the stage with cross-over opera star Andrea Bocelli or supporting children’s charities all over the world, The Canadian Tenors are making their mark upon the world.
Both The Tenors’ self-titled record and their holiday album The Perfect Gift have achieved platinum sales status in Canada (80,000 units sold) while their Canadian Tenors Live DVD has also been afforded a warm reception by international audiences.
The Canadian Tenors will be performing at Casino New Brunswick on Thursday evening. Doors to the show open at 7 p.m.
Checking in with The Times & Transcript from Las Vegas last week, Canadian Tenor member Clifton Murray was in rehearsals for a PBS show taping as well as a performance to celebrate the opening of the $400-million dollar Smith Centre, the Las Vegas equivalent to Washington’s Kennedy Centre.
‘The Smith Centre is located in Downtown Las Vegas and I think will bring a real high level of class to the area,’ Murray says. ‘Speaking with a lot of the locals, everyone seems to feel as though the centre was a long time coming. We are very excited and very proud to be a part of the first week of performances.’
Murray says the group’s second PBS special will focus upon 15 new songs from the quartet, which will be appearing on the Canadian Tenors next album, due for release in late 2012 or early 2013.
‘We have been rehearsing these new songs, ensuring that we know the harmonies and the parts of each of the songs. It really is a process to own all the songs and though we sang them in the studio, you sing them and then you tend to forget about them as you move onto the next song. So we have really been focusing in on each other in rehearsals, making sure that our harmonies are tight while also fine tuning our cut-offs and pick ups for each of these songs.’ Comprised of Murray, Toronto’s Victor Micallef, Quebec resident Remi Pereira and Vancouver’s Fraser Walters, the quartet was brought together by Jill-Ann Siemens who originally had the idea for a male vocal quartet with classical leanings.
Though the group went through a number of members before arriving at their current incarnation, Murray states that finding the right combination of people and personalities has been of utmost importance.
‘Jill-Ann intentionally sought out Fraser, Victor and Remi while the fourth member of the band was a bit of a revolving door for a little while until I joined the group a few years ago,’ Murray shares. ‘The four of us just instantly clicked in terms of our vocals and the chemistry between us. We are traveling 300 days a year so you want to be able to get along well. It is something that goes well beyond chemistry on stage but it is also something that needs to be taken very seriously because that chemistry or lack thereof could make or break the band.’ Music is something that runs deep in Murray’s veins. His grandfather George Murray was an Irish tenor on the CBC program The Cross-Canada Hit Parade in the 1940s, 50s and 60s. Clifton never had the opportunity to meet his grandfather and growing up, had never had the opportunity to hear or see his grandfather sing. Murray says that approximately a year and a half ago, he was chatting with a fan backstage who had casually remarked to him that the last tenor vocalist he knew was George Murray. It turns out that fan backstage had been a CBC cameraman for 40 years and had collected both audio and video footage of Clifton’s late grandfather.
‘For the first time this past year, my family got together and we had the opportunity to watch my grandfather perform these old Irish songs. It was so special to finally feel that connection with my grandfather; I feel as though I am exactly where I am supposed to be in life.’ Though the group’s upcoming performance will be the first time that they are publicly performing in Moncton, Murray expresses excitement about returning to the Atlantic Provinces.
‘We have never played the east coast as often as we would like,’ he says. ‘We are all very excited to be finally doing a full show in Moncton. It has been a long time coming in some respects. Plus, my mother is originally from St. John’s, Newfoundland so I am always very excited to return to the Atlantic region.’
Article published in March 20, 2012 edition of the Times & Transcript