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2008-04-12 Ontario, Oregon USA

reviewed by Kris and Camille
with contributions by Sonia, Tim, & August

We finally finished putting together the review of the Ontario, OR, concert. Sorry that it took longer than we had planned.

We didn't take notes during the concert, so we don't have a list of songs, but we've put in what we remember. I'm not very eloquent (I guess I've written too many dry and boring archaeological reports), but I hope the review doesn't put too many of you asleep!

"I laughed, August cried, it was better than `Cats'"  Tim

Fresh with a slate of new songs, the Celtic Tenors gave their signature harmony at the Ontario, Oregon, concert on April 12, 2008, to a very appreciative crowd. The venue, which holds about 685, was fairly full, with only a few empty seats on the very ends of the outside rows. One of the volunteers was overheard to say that this concert was the best attended of their community concert season.

There were five of us from Utah in attendance, including 4½-year-old August, whose favorite song of the evening was "Irish Rover." He also thought it was quite amusing when Donna "goosed" Daryl during "Libiamo."

The first-timers who were with us, Sonia and Tim, especially liked Donna's version of "Summertime" and the trio's "Caledonia," "The Mad Lady and Me," and "Finnegan's Wake," complete with Daryl's new brand of whiskey  Lazarus.

On stage, James expressed great appreciation for the ones who had come long distances in order to see the performance. He then dedicated the hauntingly beautiful 500-year-old version of "Ave Maria" to the five of us from Utah and Angie from Montana, who was there alone having left her husband with their three children at the hotel. That song was one of our favorites of the evening, although
August said he felt the music was sad and it made him cry. Other favorites, and there were many, include "The Red-Headed Girl" and a breath-taking rendition of "Bring Him Home."

The Celtic Tenors performed two songs a capella - "Shenandoah" and "Danny Boy," the latter without microphones since the venue had wonderful acoustics. Both were incredibly beautiful with amazing harmonies. The awed hush that fell over the audience during these two numbers seemed to linger for several moments after the tenors' final notes before the spell was broken by thunderous applause.
During the explanation of "Ten Thousand Tears," James recited, "I didn't mean to hurt you, I didn't mean to make you cry," and Matthew sheepishly added, "I didn't mean to make you pregnant," which garnered great laughter from the audience and a remonstration from James ("there are children in the audience!").

A real crowd favorite was "All Out of Love." When introducing the song, Daryl said it was about lost love. James broke in and said in a dejected voice, "Welcome to my world," to which Matthew said to the audience, "And if you believe that . . ." The audience was so enthusiastic about the song that people started clapping at the climax of the song, before the ending. The Tenors resumed the song after the clapping died down. Kris received James' rose during this number. [Was my face as red as it felt?  KC]

Before the final number, James mentioned that they would love to meet everyone after the show and stay as long as people wanted. Matthew said that he was willing to go to people's homes. Daryl announced that he doesn't make eye contact, he doesn't talk, but . . . he does hug.

Because of a standing ovation following "Time to Say Good-bye," we were treated to "Nessun Dorma," wherein the audience sung its part, after which James admonished one lady who sang over the appointed part never to step on a tenor's line. Daryl added that there was a reason the soprano always dies at the end of an opera.

The trio thoughtfully thanked all those involved with the concert. Matt Svobodny received accolades from the Tenors for being their mentor, their driver, their counselor, their lawyer, their accountant, their therapist, and their taxidermist.

There was a music student seated behind us who "interviewed" us for a school project. She said that during the first number, the rousing "I'll Tell Me Ma," she wasn't sure what she'd gotten herself into, but before the intermission, she was hooked. She had to rush out to buy their CD. The group gained a number of new fans that night.

August was the hit during the meet-and-greet, even though he was really shy. Colm succeeded in getting a "Hello" from him, which was amazing, and Matthew made him laugh by tickling him. Daryl managed to get a handshake from August, but poor James could barely get a smile from him. August seemed to prefer hiding behind his mother or taking pictures of the wall while his mom, Sonia, talked with James about the movie "August Rush." Donna didn't fare any better than James.

A few other random remembrances of the evening:

-- James started to sing a wrong verse in "Irish Rover." Colm played along until James recovered. A very talented young man is Colm.
-- When "You Raise Me Up" was introduced, a loud sigh and several "oohs" and "aahs" came from the audience.
-- Between a couple of numbers, Matthew started dancing, all the while saying he wasn't a dancer, but he did a great job.
-- While James and Matthew were speaking in Irish, mention was made of Ontario and Matthew asked, "Toronto?" and James replied, "No, Oregon," then he turned to the crowd and said, "Don't worry, they were nice things."
-- During "Whiskey in the Jar" the song was stopped after the first verse to have the concert-goers practice the clapping. James told everyone they needed to follow Kris & Camille.

All in all, it was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday and was well worth the 5½ - 6 hour drive. Sonia and Tim are already asking when we can do it again. Hopefully, it will be soon.