The Texas Tenors burst on the music scene during the fourth season of “America's Got Talent” where they finished in fourth place in 2009.

While they didn't win the ratings-topping reality show, their career took off and they have since sold hundreds of thousands of albums and have performed more than 1,300 concerts.

The trio of JC Fisher, John Hagen and Marcus Collins will bring their concert to Norris Theatre in Rolling Hills Estates on Saturday, Sept. 14, as part of a 10th anniversary tour. Their uplifting show, accompanied by a 30-piece orchestra, features a repertoire from gospel and country to Broadway tunes and contemporary covers from artists such as Adele and Bruno Mars.

“We're a nice mix of different types of voices, personalities," said Fisher. "We're all pretty different but sing similar types of music.”

“We keep evolving and tweaking what we do and expanding,” Hagen said. “It's been a great ride.”

Forming The Texas Tenors

Fisher and his wife, Jennifer Vannatta, were fans of AGT dating back to 2008. For years Fisher had a vision of forming a tenor group with a spin. He listened to country music growing up but studied classical music.

Fisher formed a trio with his brother-in-law and his voice teacher and sent a video to AGT.

“They called and wanted us to be on the show, but I was on a cruise ship in Europe as a solo entertainer and couldn't make it,” Fisher said.

So Fisher set out to form a new trio.

Fisher had known Collins for more than 20 years, meeting when they were performing on cruise ships. Hagen and Fisher had been connected in the real estate business through Fisher's voice teacher. When Fisher put the new trio together, they sang a few songs at the Miss Kansas USA pageant in early 2009. Vannatta was a former Miss Kansas winner and had continued to be active in the pageant world when the trio performed at the pageant and taped the performance.

Fisher sent in the new tape to AGT.

“They called us right away and asked us to audition,” Fisher said.

Their audition tape had three choices for band names on it and AGT chose The Texas Tenors when they auditioned in Houston with the song “Mountain Music.”

The trio made it through and eventually sang for judges Piers Morgan, Sharon Osbourne and David Hasselhoff. They advanced to the top 10 finals, eventually finishing fourth behind winner and country singer Kevin Skinner.

“It definitely it was quite a shock, especially the pressure of television and, of course, reality shows,” said Collins of the experience. “There's a lot of things that go into that, the song choice and judges, just the production itself... but it was a great experience and I would never change it.”

Hagen said at the time it was nerve wracking to only have 90 seconds to impress the judges.

“You can put a ton of pressure on yourself or do what we did and that's go in there and try to have fun and let the chips fall where they may... there's no way you're not going to get a little bit nervous, but we really tried to keep it in perspective and have fun and didn't have any huge expectations,” Hagen said. “We wanted to feel good about what we did.”

The Texas Tenors returned to what made them famous for “America's Got Talent: The Champions” earlier this year.

They were chosen to compete with 49 former AGT contestants from the global franchise that reaches more than 180 countries. They were the only vocal group from the United States to be asked to participate, but they were unable to make it past the first round.

“It gave us validation,” said Collins of being chosen for “The Champions.”

Starving artists

From sold-out concerts around the world to huge album sales, the exposure to millions on AGT changed their lives.

The Texas Tenors released a self-titled debut album in 2009, followed by several studio and live albums including “A Collection of Broadway and American Classics,” that was released in August 2018, and topped the Billboard Classical Albums Chart.

In 2014, their PBS special won three Emmy Awards, out of five nominations. Their second PBS special, “Rise,” aired in September 2017.

The trio is currently working on new music and on a second children's book, with proceeds benefiting the Shriners.

It all started with AGT.

“It was the kind of exposure you couldn't buy... it opened the door and we were able to run through it and take advantage,” Hagen said.

“It was the power of TV,” Fisher said.

Palos Verdes Performing Arts 2019-2020 Season Schedule

The Texas Tenors kick off PVPA's 37th season on Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the Norris Theatre, located at 27570 Norris Center Drive in Rolling Hills Estates.

The rest of the season follows:

  • Evita: In Concert - Sept. 27-29, 2019
  • Heart by Heart – Oct. 18, 2019
  • The Modern Gentlemen- Dec. 8, 2019
  • Spidey the Mentalist – Make Believe: The Magic of the Mind - Jan.  11, 2020
  • The Who's Tommy: In Concert - Jan. 24-26, 2020
  • DSB: Tribute to Journey - Feb. 29, 2020
  • Tribute to Benny Goodman at Carnegie Hall - March 15, 2020
  • Night Fever: Bee Gees Tribute - March 28, 2020
  • West Side Story - April 24-May 10, 2020
  • Aureum - An Aerial and Acrobatic Adventure Tale - May 29, 2020
  • Jack Wright's Tribute to Neil Diamond - June 7, 2020

For more information, call (310) 544-0403, Ext. 221, or visit palosverdesperformingarts.com.

Contact this reporter at mhixon@tbrnews.com or on Twitter @michaeljhixon.com.

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