December 13, 2013 - 10:40 am
Ten voices. Ten talents. But only two nights to hear them perform.
A vocal collaboration by the Las Vegas 10 Tenors is set for 7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 and 21 at the Suncoast Showroom, 9090 Alta Drive.
The group brings together notable male vocalists from the Las Vegas Valley — Ken Young, Bruce Williamson, Antone Dotson-Parson, Giloh Morgan, Reggie Gonzales, Mark McCuthen, Markevius Faulkner, DeSean Horne, Nate Pointer and Mathew Goins.
Joe Pigee serves as the group’s musical director, while Aaron Arrington is its producer and creative director.
Singing popular holiday classics, the concert promises jazz, Motown and rhythm and blues, all with a gospel twist. Many of the tenors have church-based experience.
“My background, I produce live gospel events in the city, and I’m always looking for something out of the box,” Arrington said.
The opportunity came to match the 10 singers. It was a logistical nightmare to get them all together. The men have different careers, including a police officer, a graphic artist, a social worker and a retail manager. Williamson is a lead singer with The Temptations. But they each carved out time for 10 Tenors’ rehearsals and performances.
The show starts with one big number that includes all 10 singers. After that, the program highlights individuals, although there is a duet or a trio sprinkled in for good measure, Arrington said.
“The entire show is built around the holiday, but we put a jazz, a Motown spin, to it,” he said. “I like to say it’s Motown-inspired with a gospel twist. A lot of these gentlemen have strong gospel roots.”
On the docket are “I’ll Be home for Christmas,” “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire),” “O, Come All Ye Faithful” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”
Young is the gospel artist for Mountaintop Faith Ministries, 2845 Lindell Road, and does local events such as open mics. He said most of the men have worked together before, some of it gospel-related or studio work.
“It’s always great (to work with others) because you hear different interpretations and different approaches,” Young said.
Expect him to bring a Whitney Houston song to the stage for his solo.
“It was the first song that came to me when they asked me to select a few songs,” Young said. “It’s a seasonal song, and I thought I’d give it a bit of a twist, having a male perspective on it.”
He said, although Houston set the bar high, “I think I’m up to it.”
Young spent the last 12½ years touring as a backup singer with Gladys Knight. He said she taught him to “stay consistent and always be real, always give 100 percent. That’s what the public expects.”
Dotson-Parson is the executive director of the worship department at the New Antioch Christian Fellowship, 3950 Las Vegas Blvd. North. What’s it like to be on stage with nine of his fellow singers? One of the youngest of the 10, he said he had the distinction of learning to sing from some of them as a child.
“For me, it’s incredible,” he said. “I was raised in this city, raised around a lot of these men. Everything I learned about singing, I learned from several of these guys. … To be able to execute what I’ve been taught and have them look at me and go, ‘Wow, who would have thought?’ It’s an amazing experience.”
Dotson-Parson’s teachers stressed the importance of having your voice stand out so it didn’t get lost in the sound of the backup singers, taking control of the music and how to sing with “such conviction and rawness that the person listening can’t help but be engulfed,” he said.
Perhaps the most difficult part of putting the show together was not getting the men to commit but finding time when they all were available to rehearse.
“You have 10 men, 10 different families with 10 different schedules and 10 different careers … but when they come together, they pull off an incredible show,” Arrington said.
Ten tenors? Ten egos?
“Actually, all of them are very humble,” Arrington said. “They all come to the table with different experiences, and they all get the job done.”
He said it was possible that the 10 would go on the road and make this more than a one-weekend local show.
The show was conceived last year, a last-minute idea that was brought together quickly. Pigee said it was advertised mostly by e-blasts.
“Last year, we sold out within 12 days,” he said.
Tickets start at $15.95, plus tax and convenience fees, and can be purchased at any Boyd Gaming box office, by calling 702-636-7075 or by visiting suncoastcasino.com.
Contact Summerlin/Summerlin South View reporter Jan Hogan at email@example.com or 702-387-2949.
Las Vegas 10 Tenors
7:30 p.m. Dec. 20 and 21
Suncoast Showroom, 9090 Alta Drive
Tickets start at $15.95, plus tax and convenience fees. Visit any Boyd Gaming box office, call 702-636-7075 or purchase tickets online at suncoastcasino.com.