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Saturday, May 15, 2021

Giving classic love songs the tenorial twist

It was one of the defining songs of the 1970s disco era; a hit immortalised by countless live performances, covers and on-screen appearances since its debut in 1977.

It’s also the quintessential love song, and the eponym for The Ten Tenor’s newest album and upcoming tour, Love is in the Air.

Famous for covering Pop, Classical and Neapolitan repertoire, and giving it their signature tenorial twist, Canberra-based Tenor Jared Newall tells Canberra Weekly that one John Paul Young song doesn’t define the sound of their new show coming to Canberra later this month.

“In some respects calling the show Love is in the Air buries the lead a little bit,” he says.

“It’s a great song, and we’ve got an amazing arrangement of it, but I also think there’s this daggy element to the song which people might misconstrue.

“What people won’t know necessarily from the name is how exciting this show is.”

The album and subsequent tour has developed rapidly since being inspired by the wedding of one of the Tenors, Paul Gelsumini, back in February.

Gelsumini planned to use Ed Sheeran’s Perfect for the first dance, and serenade his bride with help from his fellow Tenors.

“It was absolutely fantastic … It wasn’t before the end of the wedding that we were sitting there going ‘this should be our new album and the next tour – wedding or love songs’,” Newall says.

From there, the group got to work really quickly putting together the album and tour.

Canberra-based Tenor, Jared Newall, is looking forward to playing in his new hometown later this month.

“It’s all happened so fast since then,” says Newall.

“We work collaboratively; anyone with an idea for a song, we put it on a shared google doc. I think about 150 songs made the list initially.

“We just went back and forth getting it down to the final 12 songs.”

Newall says the group pride themselves on being able to adapt and rearrange music to suit their strengths as performers, something they’re confident they’ve achieved again this time.

“What was really quite incredible about this recording period is that we came with 12 songs, 10 of which were in English, and by the time the recording was done, five of the 12 had been translated.

“That was one of the biggest twists that we put on the repertoire, translating it and really going out there doing something that hasn’t been done,” he says.

Despite being very proud of the studio album, Newall says he still had some reservations about the live show.

“I was nervous about the concept, I was happy with what we did at Paul’s wedding but I didn’t know how a show of love songs would come together.”

Any reservations about the show disappeared once the Tenors gathered to rehearse about a month ago.

“We got a solid two weeks of rehearsal in … My doubt was pretty quickly allayed when I saw it all in the context of a show,” he says.

“It was hearing everyone sing together, which you don’t get to do in the recording studio; everything clicking, everything gelling, and running the show from whoa-to-go.”

Newall says Love is in the Air is going to be the most fun and most challenging show he’s ever been a part of during his eight years in the group.

“The repertoire that we’ve chosen, this music, can represent an incredible swathe of the history of modern music, and be really exciting, energetic and bombastic.

“It’s really fun, it’s really high energy and it’s probably the hardest thing for any of the 10 guys that we’ve ever had. It’s really this high wire act, and it’s strenuous and it’s all done in tuxedo jackets,” he smiles. The Ten Tenor’s Love is in the Air tour comes to Canberra Theatre Centre, 28-29 May; thetentenors.com

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