The Texas Tenors

Review: Concerts in the Garden 2018: The Texas Tenors | Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra | Fort Worth Botanic Garden

Cowboys and Some Culture

The Fort Worth Symphony's Concerts in the Garden kicked off with a spirited performance by the Texas Tenors.

published Saturday, June 2, 2018

Photo: Texas Tenors
The Texas Tenors


Fort Worth — Generous in volume and vibrato, The Texas Tenors sang their pop-erratic hearts out in the Fort Worth Botanic Garden last night for the Fort Worth Symphony’s kick-off to the 2018 Concerts in the Garden, one of Fort Worth’s annual traditions. Three accomplished voices brought three distinct styles: J. C. Fisher (country), John Hagen (opera) and Marcus Collins (pop). Their blend of differing styles struck a strong vocal cord and satisfied all who didn’t know how much they liked either.

The guys burst onto the stage to Neil Diamond’s “America” entreating the audience to sing along. Next came John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” and “Take Me Home, Country Roads”. The crowd pleasin’ kept on-a rollin’ with “Amazing Grace” and “You Raise Me Up.”

Then their cowboy/classical crossover brand went a bit catawampus with pure pop. The introduction to their first original-by-half song of the night as “a positive message that we could really use these days” met polite Fort Worth applause. The title track to their album Rise is a mid-tempo, ingratiatingly inspirational song for the marketed masses. And well done; as a steak. Polite Fort Worth applause. Why did these selections need to be presented as necessarily “Texan”?

Next, a short high school orchestra-level arrangement of “Shenandoah” was beneath our fine symphony, which was conducted by Ron Spigelman. “Ghost Riders In the Sky” came off much better. This tip of the Stetson to country music reverberated true nostalgia elemental to all country; be it roots, rebel, Austin, Nashville or in this case “Vegas-Country.” The audience stood up from their blankets in near obligatory anthemic reflex for “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood. “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Misérables, “Somewhere” from West Side Story and the Righteous Brothers’ “You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling” all continued the same formula of big build up, big vibrato and big volume if that’s Texan enough fer ya.

After intermission and some radio hits sung with pop perfection by Marcus Collins, Fisher and Hagen sang "Vincerò, Perderò." But without context the only classical crossover song of the night came off as novelty.

The classical crossover genre has had an impressive return on investment. The original Three Tenors Placido Domingo, José Carreras and Luciano Pavarotti, to which the Texas Tenors now only implicitly nod, laid the ground work in 1990 for the style. Almost always when diverging branches of the musical history tree cross back together it spells dollar signs. Think Elvis at the convergence of rockabilly and gospel/blues. These three vocalists/entrepreneurs are parlaying their musical fusion skills into a glossy marketplace. After making the finals of America’s Got Talent in 2009 they earned three Emmys with their self-produced PBS special You Should Dream. Now you can buy jewelry on their website because apparently opera and country music are “two great tastes that taste great together.”

J.C. Fisher made The Texas Tenors a nice choice to open the FWSO’s summer season in the Gardens with his honest, simple and sincere treatment of “Bring Him Home” again from Les Misérables. Though billed as a buffet of genres their menu was all desserts. Digesting passionate saccharin, intense Stevia, and heartfelt raw sugar, few wondered if they’d contract musical diabetes.

Unfortunately, the sound mixing was atrocious. The microphones popped and buzzed over near constant feedback. Though insects interjected with a buzz of their own and the nearby train yard horns apologized for the speaker systems’ distractions. A breeze through our Botanic Garden’s trees reminded us of the charm we seek each summer on its lawn.

Plus, every performance ends with fireworks.


The remaining Concerts in the Garden schedule is:


June 2

Dennis DeYoung

The Music of Styx

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Eric Roth, Conductor


June 3

1812 Overture and Symphonic Sparklers

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Ron Spigelman, Conductor

Kyle Sherman, Trumpet


June 8

The Music of Michael Jackson

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Martin Herman, Conductor

James Delisco, Vocalist


June 9

The Music of Queen

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Martin Herman, Conductor

Brody Dolyniuk, Vocalist


June 10

Whole Lotta Shakin'

From Swing to Rock

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Martin Herman, Conductor

Dave Bennett, Clarinet


June 15-17

Star Wars and Beyond

A Laser Light Spectacular

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Alejandro Gómez Guillén, Conductor


June 22

The Music of The Rolling Stones

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Brent Havens, Conductor

Brody Dolyniuk, Vocalist


June 23

The Music of Journey

Brody Dolyniuk, Vocalist


June 24

Old 97's


June 29

1950s Dance Party

John Mueller's Official Tribute to Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Ritchie Valens

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Ron Spigelman, Conductor


June 30

Hotel California

"A Salute to The Eagles"

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Ron Spigelman, Conductor


July 2-4

Old-Fashioned Family Fireworks Picnic

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra

Alejandro Gómez Guillén, Conductor

Cecilia Duarte, Mezzo Soprano Thanks For Reading

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Cowboys and Some Culture
The Fort Worth Symphony's Concerts in the Garden kicked off with a spirited performance by the Texas Tenors.
by Rob Laney

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