The Tenors have performed at award shows, Olympic opening ceremonies and twice for the Queen of England. But member Fraser Walters said singing the national anthem at Game 1 of the NBA finals in Toronto is the moment that tops them all.
“That was an amazing thing to be invited to do,” said Walters, who hails from Vancouver. “It really felt like it was a historic moment in Canada to have O Canada being performed for the first time ever in the NBA finals.”
Walters said the opportunity came to the trio – him, Torontonian Victor Micallef and Port McNeill’s Clifton Murray – after meeting Michael Friisdahl, CEO of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment, which owns the Toronto Raptors, at this year’s Grammy Awards in Los Angeles. Walters said their manager and Friisdahl kept in touch and once the Raptors advanced to the Finals the Tenors were asked to sing the anthem at Game 1 on May 30.
“We weren’t feeling nervous, we were just feeling this wonderful sense of opportunity to share our voices and our gifts in the best way we know how and so we just couldn’t have pictured a better outcome,” Walters said. “They did win that first game, of course, and they went on to win the series. So we’re absolutely a part of history and could not be more proud about that.”
Next on the Tenors’ schedule is a fundraiser for an organization that Walters has a personal connection with: The Vancouver Island Symphony. Walters has known VIS CEO Margot Holmes since he sang with the British Columbia Boys Choir and she was its manager 25 years ago and the two have kept in touch ever since.
The Tenors will make their first Nanaimo appearance in what Walters thinks is close to a decade when they perform with the symphony to celebrate its 25th anniversary at the Port Theatre on June 29.
Walters said their performance will span different styles and languages. He said the trio have recently been working on medleys that bring together seemingly unrelated artists, like Luciano Pavarotti and Elvis Presley.
“There’s so much amazing repertoire out there and sometimes it’s a hard decision what to cut off the list,” Walters said. “But that’s a great dilemma to have.”
He said his personal friendship with Holmes and his past experience playing with the symphony before and after joining the Tenors are some of he reasons the Tenors wanted to be a part of the fundraiser.
“There’s quite a nice history there and then with the Tenors coming through over the years, it’s just a great opportunity to celebrate a wonderful community that’s been a part of our growth and development all these years and this is an opportunity for us to come back and say ‘thank you’ and celebrate,” Walters said.
WHAT’S ON …Vancouver Island Symphony presents The Tenors at the Port Theatre on Saturday, June 29 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets range from $100 to $249. For details and to purchase tickets visit www.porttheatre.com.