A year after releasing their first hit album, the Canadian Tenors are delivering "The Perfect Gift," a compilation of traditional and contemporary holiday music.
"You have the classics like ‘O Holy Night’ and ‘Silent Night,’ but there are songs that are not necessarily Christmas-specific," explained tenor Victor Micallef. "Some great producers worked on that, as well," added band mate Clifton Murray. "’Hallelujah’ was (produced by) Bob Ezrin, who worked on ‘The Wall.’"
That’s as in Pink Floyd’s "The Wall" — just one of many aspects of The Tenors that may surprise. The quartet’s clean-cut, all-North American looks scream "pre-fab," and, indeed, the band was the brainchild of Canadian composer Jill Ann Siemens, who first started work on the project some 10 years ago. The current configuration of the group is Victor Micallef, Clifton Murray, Remigio Pereira and Fraser Walters, who said that while they might not have come together organically, that’s precisely how they’ve stayed together.
"Unlike some of these other pre-fab groups, there is a lot of money involved and everything," Pereira said. "We started grassroots and just slowly built up. We cut our teeth on the road doing that. That is how it all happened."
The recent holiday album was released in October, months after the group’s debut album "The Canadian Tenors" ranked at the top of Billboard’s Classical Albums chart.
Before making inroads stateside, Pereira said, the group did 12 shows in 12 small towns without hitting the two main cities — Saskatoon, Regina.
By late 2009, the Tenors built a solid Canadian following, then caught the attention of Oprah Winfrey, who invited the members to be guests on her show. After that February 2010 appearance, the quartet quickly experienced the so-called "Oprah Effect."
"It is still happening," said Pereira, with a smile.
The four spend more time together on the road than they do with their families these days. And, yes, they’re cool with the term "bromance."
"’Bromance,’" replied Micallef. "It does work, but like any relationship, you have to work on it. And communication is key. As soon as you stop talking, there is a problem. So, half our work is the music and half our work is relationship building. So, it is so important or else this thing wouldn’t survive more than a year."
The Canadian Tenors wrapped up its 2010 tour schedule Tuesday night (21 December) in Fort Worth, Texas, then planned head north, to the singers’ respective homes for the holidays.
Talk about cutting it close. "It kind of makes sense because Christmas is a very busy time for us," said Murray. "Obviously tenors and Christmas go hand in hand."