It’s not often that I go to a concert, but I couldn’t resist the urge to hear a group called 3 Redneck Tenors this past January. They were featured at The Rylander, a historical theatre in downtown Americus. It’s an outstanding venue, and with today’s low gas prices is only a ten dollar round trip from home. The tickets were reasonable at twenty-four dollars each, so I invited Jane to go with me.
The newspaper ad got my attention because the concept of tenors as rednecks seemed so improbable. In our choir at First Baptist of Vienna the tenors have long been known for their sophistication and suave demeanor.
The bass section, which I pretend to be qualified for, is clearly better suited to wear the redneck label. I believe that’s the case with most choirs, but I was unable to find credible research to support my opinion.
Opera is not something I find appealing, yet I knew there was a possibility that genre might be a part of the 3 Redneck Tenors’ program. It was a chance I was willing to take, even though our entire entertainment budget for the first quarter of 2020 was at risk. I’m pleased to report both our time and money were well spent.
They sang a few classical songs from various operas, but thankfully they were in English which I find to be quite helpful. I’m not opposed to listening to various styles of music if I can understand the words, and if the words are worth understanding. That’s a challenge with much of today’s music, but part of the problem may be my hearing which is increasingly unreliable.
That reminds me of a story Johnny Cumbus told me not long ago. It was about a man who was frustrated by his wife’s poor hearing and decided to run a little test without telling her. He was walking about 20 feet behind her and asked with normal volume, “Can you hear me?”
She kept walking and he kept easing closer. Every five feet he would repeat the question, “Can you hear me?” Finally, he walked up beside her and asked with frustration, “Can you hear me?”
She said, “Yes dear. For the fifth time, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, I can hear you!”
Most of the songs were showtunes like “Tomorrow” from the Broadway musical Annie. I enjoyed hearing “Tomorrow,” partly because it’s a good song and partly because it reminded me of Daddy reading the Little Orphan Annie comic strip to me as a child. He had read it when he was growing up and introduced me to something I might otherwise have ignored.
I always wondered why Annie had blank white circles where her eyes should be, and where she kept the dog food for her faithful pet Sandy. Punjab and The Asp added a bit of mystery when they would occasionally appear. I once asked Daddy which of them would win if they got in a fight. He thought The Asp might be victorious but said that would be some fight and he really wasn’t sure.
It always seemed to me that Daddy Warbucks could have been a bit more proactive in giving Annie a permanent home, but I guess that would have ended the comic strip.
The 3 Redneck Tenors have exceptional voices, and they did something which is rare among performers. They kept the sound at a comfortable level. It was loud enough to hear but never to the point I wanted to cover my ears. I’ve found that a lack of talent is sometimes disguised with extra volume. These guys were good enough they didn’t have to shake the floor to rock the crowd.
I don’t think those three fellows are really rednecks. My guess is they were pretending just to see if rednecks would come to a concert where the music wasn’t country. The audience enthusiastically sang along on several songs, but the voices I heard most clearly were the basses. I’m not saying you have to be a redneck to sing bass, but it probably doesn’t hurt.
The music was great, the humor clean, and the crowd cheerful. That’s a good combination for an evening out. It made me glad I had bought a ticket for Jane. She enjoyed the concert, and I enjoyed having her beside me. Twenty-four dollars to get her a comfortable seat was money well spent, because there’s one thing I know for certain. She would not have been happy waiting in the truck.