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They got their start on PBS. But The Irish Tenors have since become a big name in classical pop music, bringing their charismatic, technically masterful performances to audiences around the world.
The Irish Tenors' background
In the 1990s, The Three Tenors -- Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo and Jose Carreras -- were all the rage. PBS producers Bill Hughes and Daniel Harte had the idea to create a group of Irish tenors. This trio would specialize in English-language songs and bring their own national charm to their performances.
They consulted with vocal coach Dr. Veronica Dunne about top-notch performers she could recommend for the project before they approached tenors about the possibility of a PBS special. They first approached County Cork native Finbar Wright, an experienced pop and jazz singer who had developed a following in his country since embarking on his career in 1990. Wright joined the group in 2000 when founding member John McDermott stepped down for personal reasons.
Anthony Kearns, hailing from Kiltealy, is the group's second tenor; he got his start as a Sean-n�_s singer as a child and eventually grew to become one of his country's most acclaimed talents. The final recruit to the group was County Kilkenny's Ronan Tynan, who first worked as a medical doctor before engaging fully with his musical talents. Since then, Tynan has toured internationally, both as part of The Three Tenors and at performances as varied as U.S. President Ronald Reagan's state funeral.
The Irish Tenors' career milestones
The Irish Tenors' debut performance, "The Irish Tenors: Live in Dublin," first aired on PBS in 1999. Heartened by the show's success, PBS commissioned the trio (this time including Finbar Wright) to perform for a second special, "The Irish Tenors: Live in Belfast."
The Irish Tenors tickets typically go on sale twice annually; the group usually schedules performances around Christmas and around St. Patrick's Day.
The Irish Tenors' biggest hits
The Irish Tenors have sung many well-known classical pop songs over the years. They're best known for their treatments of songs like "Danny Boy," "Shenandoah" and the late Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah."
One of their biggest hits to date was Ellis Island, the live recording from their PBS special of the same name. This performance was hosted by Irish-American actor Martin Sheen, and rose to the top of Billboard's Heatseeker list. Billboard later listed the album as one of its top 10 albums of 2001.
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