The Ten Tenors had just finished putting their show together, rehearsing in the magnificent Arts Centre at Villanova School. They offered, as a gesture of thanks, to do the first public performance of their new show as a benefit concert to subsidise a school choir tour.
Everybody won – the Ten Tenors got a dress rehearsal in front of a wildly appreciative audience, the school choir gained $20,000, and we got to hear a new show by a very relaxed, and very professional choir.
The show began with Opera and Operetta, showcasing the choir's enviable mix of voices, and capacity to engage an audience. The band – keyboard, drums and guitar – was superb. The lighting was excellent, and, given the way that the choir switches from voice to voice, must have required split second concentration from the lighting technician.
The highlight of the first half, certainly judging by audience response, was the Australiana section – "Waltzing Matilda" and "I still call Australia home" may be familiar, but the Ten Tenors brought the audience to a foot-stomping, hand clapping frenzy.
In fact, one wonders if Australiana might not be a better ending to the first half than the very fine Elton John section.
The Ten Tenors showed why they are renowned for their renditions of Queen, ranging effortlessly from falsetto to baritone, as one watched the audience swaying and singing along. "Hey Jude" has rarely sounded so good, and we loved their arrangement of Simon and Garfunkel's "The Boxer".
They are about to head off to Europe, and the next chance we will get to hear them will be at QPAC in May.
If what you want is good crossover music, and slickly presented arrangement of popular ballads, then the Ten Tenors deliver – averaging 250 concerts a year, and with more than 3.5 million seats sold so far for their live concerts.