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2008-02-21 Lake City, FL, USA

reviewed by Judith

I and a few friends attended this, my first Celtic Tenors concert, which was held in a nice new performance hall on the campus of Lake City Community College. It appeared to be very well attended, with few empty seats. I will guess the capacity to be around 450.

The tenors came out for the first half of their performance wearing dark brown suits, white shirts, and each wearing a different solid-color necktie. They changed clothes for the second half, wearing different suits and each wearing a satin vest of different color. I liked those very shiny black patent leather shoes they all wore. Donna Malone, the soprano, had three different lovely gowns, first a purple one, then for the second half a gown trimmed elaborately with gold lace, and then a stunning bright red gown for the final number.

The concert began with a very energetic "Belle of Belfast City", a song I've never heard before. Great song and an excellent choice for opening the show. Next Daryl introduced the very lovely "You Raise Me Up". "Finnegan's Wake" was the third song, then "Song for Ireland" with each tenor singing a verse. "An Cailin Rua" (The Red Haired Girl) was next, then a positively awe-inspiring performance of "The Holy City". A great song sung by three such powerful voices, each of them giving their all. I will go ahead and call this one my favorite number, and it got lots of applause so obviously others were also impressed.

Next was a lovely performance of "Ave Maria". As I recall, James introduced it by saying it was not the Bach/Gounod version and not the Schubert but was a special arrangement for four voices. Donna joined the tenors on this song. Donna then followed with a beautiful and powerful rendition of "O Mio Babbino Caro". Amazing voice, especially for such a young lady. Next was "Libiamo" followed by the tenors' a capella version of "Shenandoah", one of my favorite songs and very well done. Then the fun-filled "Irish Rover" which greatly amused the audience and "Remember Me", very impressive (received a standing ovation) followed by intermission.

The second half began with "So Strong", followed by "Bring Him Home". I think that probably a lot of people in the audience identified with that second one, since everyone knows someone who is serving overseas in the military. They were two very well performed and well received songs. Then followed "Ten Thousand Tears" with Donna again joining the tenors. Donna then sang "Summertime" and the tenors followed with "Still by Your Side". The next song I have never heard before. It is called "The Mad Lady and Me" and I think that James said it was about an eccentric lady who wore about a dozen coats. It was written by Jimmy McCarthy, a famous Irish songwriter, and lyrics can be found on the web. "An Poc Ar Buile" (The Mad Goat) was next. Quite appropriate, to follow a song about a mad lady with a song about a mad goat. That song was dedicated to our little group of four, who were fortunate enough to get front row seats.

Next was a big favorite of just about everyone's - - "Caledonia". Since one of my friends is of Scottish descent, she particularly appreciated it. Then a song that's always lots of fun for the audience, "Whiskey in the Jar". "Danny Boy" followed. I think one of the tenors said that they'd left it out in their previous appearance and some members of the audience said they were disappointed, so they put it back in.

Song #23 of the evening was a fine rendition of "All Out of Love" and then the announcement that the concert was nearing an end. "Time to Say Goodbye" followed, with Donna coming onstage in that eye-catching red dress to join them. An encore was "Nessun Dorma" with audience participation. There were a couple of standing ovations for these last songs, and possibly for another song somewhere along the way but my memory is imperfect as to exactly which songs. They definitely received a great deal of applause at their suggestion that they might come back for another appearance in the future. The audience would obviously like for them to do just that.

The meet and greet was very nice indeed, with all the performers chatting with the audience members, graciously posing for photos, etc. Such warm, sincere people they all are, and the closer up one sees them, the better they all look. Three very handsome fellas and a beautiful and sweet natured young lady. I recall James saying from the stage that he hoped everyone would stay for the meet and greet and he'd like to spend half an hour with each one of them. Gosh, if he did that they would STILL be there!!! Daryl said something along the lines of "I don't talk but I give hugs".

Well, that's all I can remember. They don't allow us to tape record these concerts, and maybe that's just as well. If we could remember all the funny remarks and jokes, we'd give them all away in our reviews and then they'd have to hire a comedy writer to think up all new ones for each show, wouldn't they? I don't know of any singing group that does as many performances a year as this one (over 200, I believe Matthew said) and surely no comedy writer could come up with that many new jokes or comedy routines. I am definitely hoping that the Celtic Tenors will include Florida on their next USA tour, and especially a venue again in this northern part of the state. They can become quite addictive. Best wishes to them with the rest of their tour in this country and all their future tours.