This week, I had the wonderful experience of reuniting with an old friend and colleague, Fraser, who now sings with classical crossover super-group The Tenors . Sweetening this happy reunion was the first meeting of my two choral loves, Clerestory and the San Francisco Girls Chorus. Fraser messaged me looking for choirs to sing in The Tenors holiday show at Herbst, and the stars aligned to bring us all together for a few tunes. The Tenors were awesome to work with, entertaining to watch, and great with the kids. Clerestory was positioned right in front—between Valerie, my music director at SFGC, and the girls. Aside from the shortest sopranos trying to find sight lines around our tallest basses, things went swimmingly! We sang the fastest O Come All Ye Faithful in history, rattled the rafters with some humming on The Little Drummer Boy, and finished with a beautiful O Holy Night. You can hear the former two songs on The Tenors new album, Christmas Together, and the latter on their first Christmas album (under their original name, The Canadian Tenors), The Perfect Gift. Make sure you listen to the closing track of each album. The Perfect Gift ends with Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, a song that played no small part in The Tenors’ rise to prominence, and which they sang beautifully last Sunday. Christmas Together ends with a gorgeous version of Auld Lang Syne that helped me to understand the beautiful ending-as-beginning subtext of that traditional song.
While we’re talking tenors, I have one more group’s holiday album for you to check out. Sol3 Mio is another classsical-ish tenor trio having great success on tour right now. I came to know of them because tenor brothers Pene Pati and Amitai Pati are currently Adler Fellows with San Francisco Opera. They and their baritone cousin Moses Mackay hail from New Zealand, where they formed Sol3 Mio, and have a huge following. Unfortunately, Clerestory will be singing the same night as they are presented by SF Opera in a Christmas show, so I won’t get to hear them live, but I’ve been enjoying their first full-length holiday album, A Very Merry Christmas. Some very fine singing, plenty of light-hearted fun, and the constant presence of ukulele make this album stand out from the December crowd.
All of these tenors (and one baritone) are worth following beyond the holiday season!