Early Memories of the Tenors
The first person in our family to discover the Irish Tenors was my mother-in-law. She tried for well over a year to get the rest of the family interested in them, but no one would have any of it.
As I think happened with most people, I stumbled upon the Belfast concert one night while I was flipping through the channels. The two songs that stand out in my mind were "The Isle of Innisfree," and "Go, Lassie, Go." "Innisfree" was a new song for me - I had never heard it before, and the beauty of the melody grabbed me immediately. And I was delighted with the Irish jig in "Lassie." But when all is said and done, it was the pledge breaks with Finbar, Anthony, and Ronan - their senses of humor, the Irish lilt in their voices, their love for the music, and their joy in one another - that made me unable to turn the channel, or to get them out of my mind. I began to search the internet for their music, and for personal information about them.
In July of that year, I had a birthday. When my husband asked me what I wanted, I told him that I wanted to go to Boston to see the Tenors. We were able to secure seats in the fifth row, and when those three men walked out on stage to the strains of "Dublin in the Rare Auld Times," I literally started to cry. Of course, I was mortified. My teen-aged years were long behind me, and to my mind, this was behavior that was typical of eleven-year-old girls in the presence of the Beatles. But my tears were real, and my heart was bursting. Much of that concert is a blur in my mind, but I do know that it was one of the thrills in my life, only to be surpassed by finally meeting them.
On a very personal note, in July of 2001, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, and underwent surgery in August, which was followed by almost eight weeks of radiation. It was a difficult time in my life that was made immeasurably easier by the Irish Tenors and their music. I'd always believed in the power of music to soothe and uplift, and maybe even to help one to heal. I now have proof that those beliefs are valid. These three men, and the friends that I have found because of them, brought me through a time that would have been so much more difficult, and so much more lonely, had I not been flipping through the channels that March night in 2000.
We all have them. It could be the first time we saw them on PBS, our first concert
or a Meet and Greet. But each one is memorable.
There'll be more First Impressions to come.
Meanwhile, please send us yours whether it's a single word, phrase or paragraphs.
Your memory is extremely important to us.
August 2, 2003
My experience might be a bit different from what others have had at their first Irish Tenor concert. The first one I was lucky enough to attend was in 2000 one very hot August night. The groups were giving Anthony a birthday present that night. It was close to his 29th birthday and it had been arranged, we thought, that after the concert we were to meet with him and present him with a pocket watch that had been purchased.
After the concert we gathered and waited and waited to be told when we could meet with Anthony. The plans had been changed quite a few times and there was some question if we were going to get to see him at all. We were standing in the hallway waiting, like I said, and no information was forthcoming from anyone. The door to the back stage was open and me, being the shy quiet one of the group, asked a lady standing there about the gang, which was only about 15 of us, giving Anthony his present. She said she didn't know anything about it but go up the steps and ask someone up there.
So I did what she said. Then I guess the interesting thing is that the first person I came across was Anthony himself. I asked him about giving him his present and he said where is everyone and where is my present!! I told one of the others that were standing still at the door to get the others and come right now to where we were. I was standing there beside Anthony and Finbar came up and stood behind me. Anthony for some reason asked me my name, so I told him Susan. Finbar said Susan and I said yes, then Anthony said Susan what. I told him Swinehart, and he looked at me and said Susan is good enough.
The rest of the group came then and we were standing around talking to the fellas, and then we found out later that there was supposed to have been a M & G with people from the PBS group that paid $500 a couple to meet with the fellas. It wasn't our fault, we figured, because Anthony knew we were there too and he must have decided he wanted his gift. We all just mingled with the fellas and the other people and it was nice. It was also the first time I met Finbar and just to stand and talk with him was such a trip. I mean this was August and he had just joined the group in March. It was so much fun and I would love to do it again!!
After enjoying the Irish Tenors many times on PBS, and reading Internet reviews (2 in particular) of their concerts. I was determined to see them, somewhere, sometime. My wife, the country music lover, didn't share my enthusiasm, but liked the idea of a trip, said OK.I showed her the review from the Boston Globe, I believe, that said," The Irish Tenors will make you so homesick for Ireland, you'll forget you've actually never been there" She
wasn't convinced... I wasn't deterred!! I joined an IT Internet fan club and met a fabulous lady, Carol Ann Kilroy. Carol was a wealth of information and even arranged to get us tickets for the Tenors concert in New Hampshire for August 2, 2003!!
At the end of July, we set out on the 600-mile drive from our home in Prince Edward Island, Canada, to the Meadowbrook Musical Arts Center in Gilford, New Hampshire. We met Carol, her mother and 2 of their friends, who we now consider our friends, and joined them for an enjoyable meal at a VERY busy restaurant, and then it was on to the concert.
Meadowbrook is an outdoor venue with a covered pavilion. Carol had assured me the sound would be great, although I was a little unsure. One line into the first song erased all doubt!! It was unbelievable!! I had expected the Tenors to be good, but they were way beyond that!! And it only got better. I was spellbound!! I don't have words to describe it. I had never heard anybody sing anything like this. The most amazing thing to me was, how easy they made it look. No screwed up faces, no furrowed brow, and no apparent effort at all!! They just opened their mouth and out came the most beautiful voices, whether it was a solo or as a trio. It was wonderful! I could go on and on, (as my wife and friends, upon our return, could tell you) but I won't!! Oh yes, my wife.
Every now and then, I would take a look to see if she was enjoying it at all, it didn't surprise me that she seemed to be. How could anyone not??!! Sadly, all good things must end, and this was no exception. In our church after Communion, there is a hymn that starts," Too soon we rise..." and that's exactly what I was thinking as we headed for the exit!! I was also thinking, my once in a lifetime experience was over. Imagine my surprise when my wife said," We'll be coming back next year".
Surprise #2 came a month or so after our return. She had borrowed my car, usually that means I have to put the Tenors back in the stereo, before too much country music comes blaring from the radio, but this time, the "Ellis Island" CD had mysteriously turned into," Live in Belfast". I asked her how this had happened, she smiled and very innocently said," I don't know" This brings me to the other review that convinced me to see a concert. It went something like, "If you have seen and enjoyed the Irish Tenors on PBS, that will in no way prepare you, for what you will experience at their live concert" Truer words have never been written!! Athletes are asked after winning more than one championship, which was the best. They always say the last one. I hope to report on July 18th, 2004, after another Meadowbrook concert, the same goes for Irish Tenors concerts!!
Carlene & Gordon Lloyd
It was back in 2000. I was channel surfing and came across them singing on PBS here in New York. I was fascinated. I must confess that I wasn't into opera, or classical music, but they happened to be singing "Danny Boy," and that caught my attention. And, when they stopped singing and I heard their lovely Irish lilt when they spoke, I was smitten.
I got on the computer at work during lunch hour the next day and after much searching, I came across the Irish Tenor fan group. I joined and found that they would be appearing at Westbury Music Hall on Long Island in December 2000.
I bought three tickets and my son and stepdaughter came with me. We had third row seats! I couldn't believe we were that close to them. They were wonderful. After the performance, we had a Meet & Greet. I was quite weak in the knees to put it mildly. My son and I waited on line to meet them and when my turn came, well, I was completely numb. First, I met Ronan and was thrilled by his great smile and easy going way. Then, Anthony, who was absolutely charming in his boyish way. When I came to Finbar, I was shaking! I asked him if my son could take our picture together and Finbar said, "sure". I came around the desk and he put his arm around my shoulder. I must have gotten pale as a ghost, because my son, who was about to take our photo, said, "now don't faint on the man, Mom." I felt as though I would, but I didn't, and our picture hangs in a pretty frame on my living room wall with the rest of the family photos. I can still feel his arm around me and see his warm smile.
How gracious he was even though he was dead tired! They all were, but their kindness and friendliness that night showed they truly are professional and gracious to their fans.
"Cookiekid" - Carol
There was a signing announced in the newspaper that the Tenors were to appear at Downey's Irish Pub here in Philly, the week before their concert at the First Union Center on March 15th. My family and I went down there. It was packed, to say the least. There was a line all the way back from the second floor where they were to appear to the outside of the place. I saw the table where they were to sit and it seemed so near, yet so far! When they finally appeared, Ronan and Anthony, and waved to everybody, I feared I might faint! I ordered a beer to help steady my legs. The line seemed to move so slowly but before I knew it, we were next! When the time came, my daughter had to hold my arm to get me up that one step. I remember shaking hands with Ronan and asking if we could snap some pictures and then when I came up in front of Anthony, time stood still! I couldn't believe he was actually sitting there in front of me, in the flesh!! I was mesmerized at his beauty! I know I said something to him but to this day I don't remember what, and he answered me. I have it on film but it has escaped my mind. That was 4 years ago, and though I've met him since, and of course every time is a wonderous experience, I'll never forget that first time I peered into those beautiful blue eyes and gazed at that face!! And watched him drink his Perrier and eat his scone! You haven't lived until you've seen Anthony eat a scone! THAT I remember!!
My best memory of The Irish Tenors is:
It was March 17, 2001, my birthday. We had gone down to Florida to see Anthony in concert at the Immaculate Conception Church in Melbourne Beach. My son managed to get us front row seats, right to Anthony's right. After the show there was a Meet & Greet. I got my one and only birthday kiss from Anthony and a big bear hug. That has to be the best birthday ever.
Carol Ann Auge'
First Impressions of the Irish Tenors. First TV and first concert blend together in my mind.
The first was their initial PBS appearance here in the U.S. As was the case with so many others, I chanced on the broadcast as I was flipping through channels, seeing what I could find. I didn't flip further and there I stood, remote in hand, more or less stunned. They were just plain delightful. Their voices were terrific, I loved the music and they were such a treat to look at.
I began the frantic search for a live concert. I finally found one in Boston and what a shock. The last concert I'd seen was Peter, Paul and Mary in Hartford with a ticket price of around $10. It had been a while! But I had to go, so I ordered the best three tickets available...in the 25th row. I think they were $69 each.
When the big day arrived, I traveled from Maine to my brother's in Portsmouth, where brother and 92 year old mother joined me. We drove to the closest train station and were on our way to Boston.
It should have been easy from there on, but it wasn't.We'd been told we had only to cross the street from the train station. But those directions took us to Fleet Center, not Fleet Pavilion. No problem as we had plenty of time. We were told the subway would be fastest so we asked directions and were on our way again. We got off where we had been told and, once again, were in the wrong place. Off again. Up and down subway stairs. 92 year old mother in the lead. Off again and wrong again. At this point we hailed a cab...with a cabby who had never heard of Fleet Pavilion. Really. By then it was raining and concert time was approaching. But...wonder of wonders..there was a bus and a young man hailing down passersby asking if they were looking for the Pavilion! So we got there...at the very last minute.
Obviously, it was worth it...even from the 25th row. My brother had brought strong field glasses, which he never had a chance to use because taking them from me would have meant serious injury.
I'll bet you think this was the end of it. No chance! The concert ran long and we had to leave before it was over to catch the last train home. No cabs, of course. But we did find the right subway and made that train...by one minute.
Now any normal person would have decided, all things considered, one concert was enough.
But nearly four years and many, many concerts later...there's still something wonderful about the Irish Tenors!