Unless some extreme form of climate change takes hold, San Luis Obispo will never have a quintessential “white Christmas.” The place can get darn close, though, when shows like The Ten Tenors’ “Home for the Holidays” are performed at the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center (PAC).
The silver-haired PAC patrons eagerly devoured every second of the Australian group’s set of Christmas music Tuesday night, and for good reason. The group of handsome young men knew how to sing, dance in unison and, above all, pander to 50, 60 and 70-something-year-old women. It was clear that this was not their first musical rodeo. Not by a long shot.
The Tenors are a relatively big-budget touring company, and they have been on the road performing for the better part of the last 16 years. No wonder, then, that the singers and the backing band knocked out each tune with such glossy perfection that the PAC seemed witness to a highly-produced studio recording.
Even so, the categorical variety was astounding. The Tenors easily transitioned from their spot-on Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons medley, complete with a virtual clinic in falsetto that would be the envy of Adam Levine, to the hardcore operatic “Ave Maria” and then hardly caught their breath before becoming the world’s most talented group of sidewalk carolers.
Keane Fletcher, representing one-tenth of The Ten Tenors, attributed the group’s flexible talent in part to its sheer size.
“Everyone’s got such a different voice, so it means we can cover a wide range of musical styles,” he said. “It means we get to experiment with the ‘colors’ of each song as well.”
Despite their contemporary edge, the old-fashioned charm the group has in concert is dense enough to cut with a knife. Their rendition of “Sleigh Ride” was the recipient of fake snow, in addition to the some endearing sleigh-riding choreography. That particular spectacle would have been equally fitting in a Macy’s holiday TV advertisement. Lovely weather indeed.
The Tenors managed to appear both well rehearsed and to be having “an absolute ball,” as they put it. The scripted banter between songs seemed a bit much at times, but it did not bother the nearly-sold-out auditorium in the slightest. How does a troupe accustomed to performing hundreds of shows per year maintain a genuine sense of merriment? At least when it comes to the holiday show, the music itself is what keeps the group in an altogether joyous mood.
“It’s easier to do a holiday show because the audience comes in knowing most of the songs and wanting to sing along,” Fletcher said. “It’s such a warm, fun show that you get into it and just enjoy yourself.”
The snow may have been fake, but at least the musical ability and overall gaiety of the night were as real as the fact that SLO will remain temperate for the foreseeable future.