Editor's note: The If You Go box has been updated on Wednesday, April 4
Dreams really do come true.
The Texas Tenors are living proof.
Marcus Collins, JC Fisher and John Hagen will take The Maryland Theatre stage with the Maryland Symphony Orchestra Saturday, April 7.
Their story is a modern-day fairy tale. The handsome protagonists — all classically trained vocalists — are friends whose paths had crossed but who never had thought about putting their voices together, Collins said in a recent phone interview. They’d performed individually but never as a group — not until a few years ago when they decided to reach for the stars on “America’s Got Talent,” NBC television’s reality talent show.
JC Fisher was a huge fan of “AGT,” Collins said. He called Collins and Hagen and asked them what they thought about getting together and auditioning. The three have similar backgrounds, Collins said: “All from small towns, all from the country, all have a love of country music and classical music and almost everything in between.”
They also have Texas in common, he added. They’d all lived and worked there, spent a lot of time there at one time or another.
“All right, let’s give it a shot,” Collins said. “So we became The Texas Tenors.”
Fisher’s wife, Jennifer, a former Miss Kansas who runs several state pageants in the Miss USA organization, needed entertainment for one of her pageants. The Texas Tenors were on the bill.
Slight problem: They lived in different states. Hagen did the vocal arrangements and sent Collins his part.
“We rehearsed over the phone, worked our parts back and forth,” Collins said. The three got together about an hour before the pageant. They sang, sent the performance film to “America’s Got Talent,” and were invited to Houston.
“We auditioned for the executive producer, he put us in front of the judges and there it is,” Collins said.
“It” was a slot on the show’s 2009 season. “It” was being watched by more than 100 million viewers from all over the globe. And “it” rocketed the group to become the No. 1 vocal group in the entire six-season history of “America’s Got Talent,” according to press information.
That season, they made it as far as the show’s quarterfinals. But The Texas Tenors kept on performing. They have presented more than 300 concerts in the United States and Great Britain. They do cruises. They sing 60 shows a year in Branson, Mo. They work hard at keeping the dream alive.
“We really enjoy spending ... our careers together and taking the journey together,” Collins said.
Their individual journeys began early. “We’ve all been singing since we were kids,” he explained.
Collins started at age 4 and did talent shows and musicals, tried New York for a while, did some acting, telemarketing, landscaping, construction.
Fisher got the music bug when, as a high school basketball player, he stepped out of the lineup to sing “The Star Spangled Banner.”
“The crowd went crazy, so he thought, ‘That’s pretty cool. Maybe I can sing,’” Collins reported.
He went on to study music at Wichita State University and performed a solo show on more than 75 cruise ships, according to information on the group’s web site, www.thetexastenors.com.
Hagen studied music at University of Northern Iowa and has won competitions, performed at Lincoln Center in New York and on TV and sang with opera companies and symphonies. Fisher first heard him when they were putting up drywall for a real estate business. His reaction: “Wow! You sound like Pavarotti,” Collins said.
Each has worked hard at the dream of a singing career with many nonperforming jobs along the way.
“You name it, we’ve probably done it,” Collins said.
He called The Texas Tenors’ success an “amazingly fast rise,” but it is not something they take for granted.
“I feel so grateful every day to work with my friends, to have fun and to present beautiful music — (to) sing ... different genres of music that I probably wouldn’t be able to do in any other kind of presentation,” Collins said.
He said he loves being able to sing John Denver’s hit “Country Roads,” one of his favorites; Frank Sinatra’s hit “My Way,” Collins’ dad’s favorite; “Somewhere” from “West Side Story”; and “Nessun Dorma” from Puccini’s “Turandot” — all in the same show.
Hagen’s arrangement of “Nessun Dorma” might not be what the composer intended, but, Collins said, “We enjoy it and hope people like it. There’s always room for a unique take on beautiful music.”
The Texas Tenors’ first album, “Country Roots, Classical Sound,” was the only album to be No. 1 on both the country and classical charts as tracked by CD Baby, according to press information.
The group recently released its second studio album, “You Should Dream.” Dana Lamb, whom Collins described as a “mom and schoolteacher” from Atlanta, wrote the title song in 2007.
“After she saw us on ‘America’s Got Talent,’ she felt she had written it for us,” he said.
“You Should Dream” will be performed in Hagerstown, Collins said.
The Texas Tenors are indeed “living the dream.”
If you go ...
WHAT: Maryland Symphony Orchestra Pops: The Texas Tenors “Living the Dream”
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday, April 7
WHERE: The Maryland Theatre, 21 S. Potomac St., downtown Hagerstown
COST: Tickets cost $15 to $49
CONTACT: Tickets may be purchased online at www.marylandsymphony.org, by phone at 301-797-4000 and in person at the MSO office, 30 W. Washington St., Hagerstown, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 7.