aimee suzanne kruse-ross | ten tenors | dec. 2016
Australian ensemble The TEN Tenors have toured around the world since the group formed in 1995. With their music described as a mix of rock and opera, the TEN Tenors bring their unique, classically-trained voices to Green Bay's Weidner Center for one spectacular seasonal concert titled “Home for the Holidays" on Dec.13.
Frankly Green Bay had an opportunity to speak with TEN Tenor Jared Newall. Newall joined the group in 2011 and took some time out from rehearsal in Brisbane to field some questions about the ensemble and their upcoming visit to Green Bay.
Is this your first time performing in Green Bay?
It is my first time, and I'm excited to come, especially to get an apology for your Packers trouncing my beloved Patriots back in '97. Having lived in Maine, I was crushed. I'm joking of course (sort of)!
For those of us who do not (yet) know who the TEN Tenors are, how would you describe yourselves, and how would you best describe your music?
I like to use the word blokes. I think we're a bunch of Aussie blokes who travel the world, performing and interpreting our favorite pop, rock, and of course, classical songs for unsuspecting audiences. As for our holiday show, we bring a flavor of our hot Australian Christmas to cold, winter wonderlands such as your own.
As I understand, singers of your group do not exclusively sing tenor; in fact, are all singers required to train and sing at all ranges? Do you switch your parts up?
You're absolutely right. While the guys in the TEN are all tenors, we have specialists in different styles of singing and vocal tones and colors. We have such a variety of voices within the group that one might be surprised that it works, but it does.
Who in your group has the greatest vocal range, and is his job easier as a result?
It would be hard to say who in the group has the biggest range, but I would say that if one of the guys has a special vocal skill, it's going to get used within the show. One of the guys, JD Smith, for example, has a special ability that will be on display during the show, and I assure you, the audience will not see it coming!
What would you say to the gentleman who comes to your show, only at the insistence of his wife or girlfriend and would you describe what ages are typical in your audiences?
Ah, the reluctant partner. You can always spot them, at least for the first few songs. I'd simply say, "Trust us, your favorite song is coming up next!"
For the age range of the audience, it really depends on the city we are playing, but the statistics are ages 35 - 65, 80 percent female skew. Or, for the Home for the Holiday's show, the audience is largely families all coming for a great family night out and to sing along with some Christmas favorites.
Your group has been quoted as saying that the feedback you've been receiving from the United States is phenomenal. What would you say has contributed to this?
I think there is a healthy intrigue in the U.S. about all things Australian, and we don't pretend to be anything but who we are. People who may be expecting to see a stuffy opera recital are surprised to see us dancing as well as singing. We joke around and we don't take ourselves too seriously. I think that's something that people can relate to, in the U.S. and all over the world.
What can the audience expect to hear during your Home for the Holidays show?
I think our Christmas show is full of wonderful contrasts. There is nothing quite like the sound of ten men singing at the very limits of the male voice, but to hear that sound within moments of beautiful light and expressive singing makes the show extra special. Also, let's be honest, we love Christmas and Christmas music.
Since you'll be away from home during the holidays (I see you'll be performing on 27 December in the U.S.), how and where will you celebrate?
We'll be spending Christmas day with an audience in Aspen, Colorado, which will be really special. The following day (which in Australia we call Boxing Day) we will have a belated Christmas celebration with our TEN Tenors family. I think for most of the guys, we'll celebrate with our families when we get home on Dec. 31st.
Perhaps you have a favorite holiday song as a group, if so, would you share that with us!
I can't speak for the rest of the group (with us, you almost certainly get 10 different answers), but for me, “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)" is my favorite. As a child, I always wished for a white Christmas, and I think it was because of this song and its beautiful imagery. But I consider myself lucky to get to sing all our amazing Christmas music in Home for the Holidays.
Is there anything that I haven't asked that you'd like to share with our readers?
I wanted to personally thank the forbearers of the people of Green Bay for the invention of splinter-free toilet paper. Also, to honestly say that I'm really excited to come to Wisconsin and share the holiday season with you all!
And lastly, just for fun … I understand that December is the start of Australia's summer season. Are you prepared for Green Bay's December snow and cold?
A few of the boys and I went shopping just the other day for snow jackets. We got some very strange looks from bystanders as we tried on winter clothes in 100-degree weather. But with our fingers crossed for a white Christmas, I think we're mostly excited!
The TEN Tenors bring 'Home for the Holidays' to the Weidner Center on Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, visit weidnercenter.com.