The Canadian Tenors: four lead singers

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The Canadian Tenors: four lead singers
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One gets the feeling that the same 1960s-era parents jittered by their children listening to the Beatles would welcome the Canadian Tenors into their homes and raffle their daughters off for marriage; their international fame is far from the British Invasion.  

There is nothing controversial about Remigio Pereira, Victor Micallef, Clifton Murray or Fraser Walters, who comprise the pop-classical group from Canada. But there is something epic and pure about the sound that happens when their four voices get together. Theyll bring that sound to the Birchmere October 2.

The year has been a successful one for the Tenors. Theyre fame has increased blasted off, really since their 2008 self-titled album came out and hit No. 1 on the Billboard classical chart. Theyve appeared on Oprah for a surprise (to them) duet with Celine Dion, played for Queen Elizabeth, performed the national anthem at both the NBA and MLB all-star games and serenaded world players at the G20 summits closing ceremony in Toronto this year. 

Everyone that gets into the performing arts dreams about having the success that were having right now, Murray said from the airport in Los Angeles. Were blessed to work with the people we have worked with and meet some of the icons of our time.

But unlike, say, rock stars (they are in the metaphorical sense), the foursome cant exactly partake in the debauchery that often comes with musical fame, whether they wanted to or not. See, their voices are their instruments. There are four lead singers in this group. While Billboard top-100 stars are chugging Jim Beam, the Tenors are sipping Evian and preserving their voices for an intensive tour schedule.

The other side of [the fame] is the day-in, day-out grind, just focusing on your task, your voice, Murray said. Others will stay up and have a few drinks, we have to drink water, take some vitamins and go to bed early. You have a couple rough nights it takes the sheen out of your voice.

We dont drink, we dont smoke, said Pereira, aboard a flight to the East Coast. Plenty of rest and drinking a lot of water. Its all about preservation.

Half of the group was trained in opera, the other half in pop. The product is a crisp, easy meshing of classical with contemporary pop that works for a cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah and just as well for the more operatic and somewhat Latin-sounding Luna.

We all come from different backgrounds, and were definitely influenced by our individual culture, said Pereira, who also plays the piano and guitar with the group. Its four guys doing what we do. We just compose, make sure everything is nicely balanced. And everything is split up quite evenly, its collaborative and its a democracy. 

More inspiring to the Tenors than any one person theyve met or shared the stage with is their charity Voices for Bulembu, a town in Swaziland, southern Africa, thats been ravaged by AIDS. The Tenors have raised millions for the town and go there to perform and hang out with orphans when they can. 

To raise that kind of money, when you can use your gift for the betterment of humanity, that really fills you with joy, gives you great perspective, Murray said.

Its one thing for us to go and entertain people every night but its another thing to use our voices for the betterment of humanity, Pereira said.

The Canadian Tenors play the Birchmere, 3701 Mt. Vernon Ave., October 2 at 7:30 p.m.

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