Irish Tenors Holiday Show December 12
By Glen Creason
Like money from home in the spending season the Irish Tenors Holiday show at the Performing Arts Center hit the spot with plenty of wonderful music, much of of it completely appropriate to the real meaning of Christmas. The Irish Tenors have visited Cerritos before and word of mouth was out despite the Winter chill outside. There was a packed house, with every single one of them ready to celebrate in the Irish style with music and laughter. This year’s lineup was the same as last in Finbar Wright, Anthony Kearns and relative newcomer Karl Scully with talents different but certainly equal and working together like a great team, albeit one wearing tuxedos. This is a very handsome show before anyone even utters a note.
The three gentlemen stood before an excellent, full orchestra, under the baton of the very talented Arnie Roth and started with a flair singing “the Minstrel Boy,” and “Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears” leaving goose bumps some ten minutes into the show. The first half of the evening’s entertainment stayed mostly in the realm of the secular with a couple of exceptions including a towering “Angels Guard Thee” by Anthony Kearns and the magnificent reading of “How Great Thou Art” by Finbar Wright, a man with a close relationship with the man upstairs (Wright is an ordained Catholic priest) and a pristine duet of “Panis Angelicus.” The trio polished of the first hour with a beautiful “Amazing Grace” but not before they gilded some very lovely and lively Celtic tunes drawn from all manner of interesting sources. From the world of film and television came “Isle of Innesfree,” “Too La Loo Ra Loo Ra” and “O Carolans Concerto.” From the world of Irish folk music came “the Belle of Belfast City,” “The Stone Outside of Dan Murphy’s Door,” and the bittersweet “Till Death Do Us Part.”
The second half focused much more on the joys of Christmas which was immediately evident in the opening four tunes: “We Three Kings,” “Hark the Herald Angels Sing, “ “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” and Finbar Wright’s spot on “Mary’s Boy Child” that made the tropical tune shine like a star. Once again the Tenors chose to draw from disparate sources, selecting the sentimental “In Dublin,” a rollicking “Rocky Road” drawn from the Chieftains repertoire and a well-scrubbed version of the modern Yule classic “Fairytale of Old New York” once growled by Shane McGowan of the Pogues. Yet Christmas around the world was still at the forefront with “Silent Night” sung in Spanish, German and English alongside Anthony Kearns’s “O Holy Night” in French and some Gaelic thrown in for good measure. Staying to the point, probably the best moment of this fine concert was an uplifting and not at all overwrought “Our Father” flawlessly performed by Mr. Kearns. The crowd roared in appreciation and the Three Tenors rewarded them with as many encores as there are ornaments on the tree including “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” “Winter Wonderland,” “White Christmas,” “Jingle Bells,” and the heart-swelling finale of “Danny Boy.”