Bringing their classically trained vocal talents and inspirational, sacred musical selections to the City is Tenore: The Christian Tenors.
The group, which includes Shane Wiebe, Jason Catron and Mark David Williams, performs at Cleland Theatre in Penticton on Sunday at 3 p.m.
Audiences will hear a range of selections from their self-titled debut disc which features hymns, classic favourites and the award-winning International Song of Peace Sempre Vicino. The CD’s first single, This Is My Father’s World, is a sweeping interpretation of the much-loved hymn and it gives the guys the ideal setting to display their vocal skills set to a soaring arrangement bristling with life and energy.
“This particular set of concerts with Tenore is hymns and inspirational music,” explains Wiebe, who grew up singing in church choirs and youth groups. “What’s interesting is that these are songs that everyone knows, making it easy to sing along.
“Tenore takes these familiar tunes and infuses an adrenaline rush.”
Wiebe had a relatively early start with performing – at 17 he toured Europe with the Columbia Singers and performed with the Vancouver Cantata Singers and the West Coast Mennonite Chamber Singers.
In 2004, he hit the small screen in a big way, landing in the top five on Canadian Idol.
He is now based in Stratford, Ont.
Catron lives in Nashville and Williams calls Minneapolis home. Rehearsals on short notice obviously aren’t too much of an option, but the guys make it work just the same.
“There’s a real confidence we have to have in each other that we are all going to do our prep work,” says Wiebe with a chuckle. “You’ve got to know your parts so well, so when we do meet up, we can concentrate on the fluidity of the show as a whole.”
It was about three years ago the concept for Tenore was born. The brainchild of Jill Ann Siemens, Wiebe was first contacted. He was interested, but didn’t hear anything more about it for another six months.
He was then called again and asked to meet with Mark David Williams. The two promptly found they had much in common – both were married and the father of two children. Both performed music with their spouses, and both were worship pastors in their churches.
“We felt like we had been friends all of our lives.”
Williams carries a powerful testimony. After surviving multiple fractures from a collision in 2001, he has found healing and hope in sharing what God has done in his life through music. He went on to study music and theater at Northwestern University and graduated with a degree in Commercial Music Performance from Belmont University in Nashville.
As Tenore continued to come together, Williams suggested Catron for the group. Wiebe says there was that similar strong connection felt upon meeting him. The three clicked personally and professionally and were now well on their way.
Catron has invented a whole new genre of music dubbed “pop-era,” described as pop-influenced classical vocals with opera roots. Over the years, Catron has performed at the Crystal Cathedral and such programs as Bridges in Nashville and Helpline with Morris Cerullo.
Having been compared to superstar Josh Groban, Catron’s influences range from Andrea Bocelli, Michael Crawford and Tony Bennett to Christian singers like Steve Green and Sandi Patty.
As for their debut disc, Wiebe said from the start the goal was to present an array of hymns and classics with fresh sonic sensibilities while not drifting too far from the traditional nature of the pieces.
“We wanted interesting, uplifting and exciting arrangements, but we also wanted simplicity of melody.”
And when it came down to choosing pieces for the CD, they each chose a couple of songs they felt strongly about and then collaborated on the final selections.
“We are so confident and excited with how this project turned out.”
For Wiebe, there isn’t a more fitting career path – or calling.
“When an audience travels alongside you on that musical journey, there is no better high.”
Tickets can be purchased Lifesong, at the Penticton Community Centre or charge by phone 250-490-2426.