Celtic sounds: An Irish twist on the three tenors

By Maura Wery

For an evening of traditional Irish music mixed with a few pop hits, look no farther than McCain Auditorium. The Celtic Tenors will perform there Friday at 7:30 p.m.

The group focuses on the harmony of the three members and having excellent audience participation, said member Daryl Simpson during a phone interview with the Mercury.

“We like making it a fun evening for everyone,” Simpson said. “It’s an emotional journey for everyone, and we want to make sure that people have a nice evening.”

This isn’t the first time the Tenors have given Manhattan a “nice evening.” Simpson said that they performed at McCain in 2011 and are excited to come back to the area again.

“We did a performance last year, and we had a tremendous evening and thoroughly enjoyed the company of everybody.”

Simpson said that the people in the Midwest remind him of home in Ireland, a main theme off the group’s new album, Feels Like Home.

“There is something about people from the Midwest: a good work ethic, and they are appreciative of people who visit their area,” he said. “I just think there is more of a connection.”

And connection is a big part of the Tenors’ live show. Simpson said the group members make it their nightly mission to get their audience involved and influence them with the music they create.

“Ultimately, the point is every time you get on stage that every performance is unique,” Simpson said. “We try to connect with the audience. That’s our biggest objective: a meaningful connection with the audience and the music. There is no point if you aren’t doing it; you could just put a CD on if you wanted to do that.”

The Celtic Tenors are known for their traditional Irish and Celtic music, but that isn’t the only entertainment they provide. Simpson said that the group will perform songs from many genres throughout their show.

“We have a good mix and balance of songs — everything from Cat Stevens to contemporary Irish music, as well.”

Simpson said the band also has a collection of Americana songs and aren’t too proud to perform some of the pop songs you might hear on the radio.

“We could be doing sacred music one minute and the next minute a cheesy pop song,” Simpson said. “I love the contrast of that. I love doing things a little bit out of the ordinary. It’s the gear changes that take people unaware.”

But above all, he said, the Tenors are just thankful for the career they have been given.

“We’ve been quite fortunate that we could make a career out of something we love,” Simpson said. “Life on the road is a calling for us. We love going city to city and concert to concert.”

For tickets,  call the McCain Auditorium box office, (785) 532-6428.

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