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Ten Tenors to hit high notes for two shows

Australians singing at Niswonger, Honeywell

Chris Hupe

Whatzup Features Writer

Published March 9, 2022

Known for blending classical and opera standards with rock and pop hits, internationally known Australian ensemble the Ten Tenors have performed for more than 25 years. They will bring their “Love Is in the Air Tour” to Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Van Wert on March 20 and Honeywell Center in Wabash on March 25.

The Ten Tenors have recorded 15 albums since forming in 1995. Their signature brand of music, featuring 10-part harmonies, has resounded with audiences across the globe and prompted acts like Rod Stewart, Lionel Richie, Andrea Bocelli, and Alanis Morissette to ask them to share the stage.

The group’s latest album, Love Is in the Air, was recorded just before the pandemic. The tour will feature many of those songs, along with many other crowd favorites, including Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody.”

In an interview with Whatzup, Ten Tenors member Cameron Barclay said the idea for Love Is in the Air, a collection of love songs, came about when former member Paul Gelsumini “asked us to sing for his wedding’s first dance,” because he knew it would be one of the most memorable moments in their lives as a couple.

“It was a great experience and people absolutely loved it,” Barclay said, “so we decided to come up with an album full of tunes that could also double as wedding first dance songs.”

Tenor Diversity

Renowned for their dynamic, choreographed performances and skillful ability to seamlessly transition from operatic arias to soulful ballads to chart-topping pop and rock songs, the Ten Tenors are in high demand all over the world.

As the nights unfold, you can expect the Niswonger and Honeywell Center to be filled with love songs that have been woven into the tapestry of romantic moments and movies throughout our lives, accompanied by a memorable and thoughtful stage show.

While sticking to music of just tenor-focused works may seem confining, Barclay said there are a lot of unique voices within the tenor realm, including artists as different as Meat Loaf, Freddie Mercury, and Ed Sheeran.

“Our main goal is to celebrate the tenor voice,” he said. “Within the 10 of us, we’ve got all types of tenors. Our roots are classical, but the strength of a Ten Tenors show is that we can cover such a wide range of music and present it in a way that’s not only a great spectacle but is also really approachable and casual in an Australian way.”

Cultural Differences

Throughout his travels with the group, Barclay has noticed many differences in audiences around the world. In Australia, for example, people are generally a little more subdued compared to Americans who, he says, are seemingly not as afraid to make noise, clap, or stand.

“I feel like Australian audiences, and even in New Zealand, people are slightly more reserved,” he said. “But then, if you go to the other end of the spectrum, like when we go to South America, it’s like you’re at a football match with all that chanting and hooting and hollering. It’s really interesting how different places react differently.”

Lineup Changes

Membership in the Ten Tenors has been a bit of a revolving door over the years, but the talent level has remained high.

There have been more than 50 people who have been a part of the group at one time or another. Barclay said that was never part of the plan but happened as the result of attrition usually caused by life events.

Touring can be taxing, but the ensemble meets every change with a workman-like attitude.

“We’re on the road a lot, over half the year in normal times, so people step out as they get a bit older or they decide to have families and want a bit more of a stable life,” Barclay said. “Then we just put out an audition for a new person.”

Barclay compared touring with nine other guys and a road crew to an “extended school camp.”

“We’re kind of like a family, so we know how each other works,” he said. “We do have a lot of fun on the road,” making all the little inconveniences that they endure from day-to-day worth it in the end.

“The opportunity to travel and work at the same time, to see the world and to meet people from different places while doing the thing that I love, is what I love most.”


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