How did the three Texas Tenors meet each other? Did you know each other long before you decided to form your own group?
After graduating from WSU in 1999, I auditioned for the World Premiere of the new Millennium Class cruise ships for Celebrity Cruise. This is where I met Marcus [Collins]. He was hired as the “pop singer” and I was hired as the “classical singer.” Instantly a deep friendship developed. We continued to perform together for five years on several different cruise ships until we both put our own solo shows together and started touring individually. I ended up performing on over 75 cruise ships around the world, making my home base in various places.
Marcus moved to L.A. and started his acting career. In 2004, I married my long-time girlfriend and former Miss Kansas, Jennifer Vannatta. We decided to settle in Kansas City to be close to her parents.
While living in the KC area, I met John [Hagan] through mutual colleagues in the music community. I had wanted to put a group together for quite some time, thinking touring would be more fun and the opportunities more abundant. I ran the idea by John, and we decided to join forces.
We spent several months trying to find the perfect third voice. We auditioned a few tenors, but decided to reach out to Marcus as well. He then flew to Kansas City and sang with us at the 2009 Miss Kansas USA Pageant. It was clear to all three of us that we would work well together. We videotaped our performance and I sent it to America’s Got Talent. The producers contacted us to set up an audition for the show. Our new group set off on an amazing adventure!
How did you come up with the name “The Texas Tenors”? Are you different kinds of tenors?
When brainstorming on things we had in common, we kept coming back to the great State of Texas. We had all lived there at some point and performed around the state. We also like how Texas is representative of our country roots, despite our classical voices. We all have different voices, which allows us to perform several genres of music. I am a lyric tenor and manage the higher octaves, Marcus is a contemporary tenor, and brings a hip flair to our sound. John is a full-voiced tenor with a beautiful baritone quality and anchors our music
How does it feel to be coming back to your college town to perform with the Wichita Symphony?
It’s nostalgic. I enjoyed several concerts at Century II while attending school at WSU, and I’m excited to now be the one to perform in this beautiful hall with a fantastic symphony! I’m also anxious to return to my college town and catch up with some of my old friends.
Will you be visiting WSU while you’re here?
I actually haven’t heard from any of the faculty since our success on America’s Got Talent, so I’m not sure who is still on campus. If some are still there, it would be great to reconnect with any former professors and fellow students. We usually have a tight schedule for our symphonic concerts with rehearsals, autograph signings, etc., but I would love to take my wife for a stroll around campus and maybe even visit my old place of employment my first year of college at the Heskett Center!