SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Lifestyle

December 19, 2013

Cozy up with New England Tenors

No two tenors are alike. That is especially true of the New England Tenors, whose voices have distinctive styles and belong to different traditions.

“We’re each unique,” said John Middleton-Cox, who sings with and directs the group that will perform at the Community House of Hamilton and Wenham on Saturday.

“Damien Corcoran has an Irish tenor, a very light and lyric sound,” he said. “Jeffrey Hartman is a very heavy, operatic tenor. I’m more of a crossover from musical theater, a dramatic tenor, that’s my specialty.”

The group, which was formed three years ago and is managed by Mike Fay of Hampton, N.H., is accompanied at concerts by pianist Wayne Ward and violinist Peter Stickel.

Two additional tenors, Joseph Holmes and Giovanni Formisano, sometimes take turns appearing in the group.

“I met some talented guys who could sing in musical theater but who are opera trained,” said Fay, who performs in community theater in addition to managing the tenors. “So, I introduced the three of them, and instantly, I was mesmerized and inspired by what I heard.”

Middleton-Cox, who had collaborated with Fay on local theater productions, said the stylistic differences of the New England Tenors also make them unique in comparison to more famous trios.

“The original Three Tenors were all of the Italian school of opera, all of the same breed, the same tone,” he said. “The Irish Tenors have the lighter sound. Within that, there’s some variety, of course, but they specialize in the same genre and style.

“We’re able to mix up styles. Audiences have remarked over and over again how each one of our voices has a unique sound and style.”

This range allows Middleton-Cox, who directs performing arts for Burlington public schools, to create programs that show off each singer’s particular strengths.

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