Finbar Wright of The Irish Tenors wanted to know if it was cold in Milwaukee. We erred on the side of caution and said that though it felt mild to most Wisconsinites, his Irish blood might find it a little cold.
"I don’t mind," he said. "I quite like the crisp, cold weather of winter. It’s nice once it’s not raining – we get so much of that here in Ireland."
Whatever the weather, Wright and his fellow tenors Anthony Kearns and Ronan Tynan are sure to have a warm welcome at the Marcus Center’s Uihlein Hall this Sunday, Nov. 25 at 6 p.m.
"We always look forward to coming up to Milwaukee," Wright said in a phone interview. The group has been here several times before and recorded a TV special, "Sacred," at The Pabst Theater in 2005.
The current trio has performed together for 12 years now and has sold out shows all around the world, including dates at Radio City Music Hall and the Sydney Opera House. Their beloved PBS specials, like "Ellis Island," have sold millions of copies.
Wright is a bestselling recording artist in his own right, and he has released eight solo albums, four of which have gone platinum. His song "Whatever You Believe" off the 1992 triple-platinum album of the same name is a beloved Christmas hit in Ireland. He has been a member of The Irish Tenors since 2000.
The trio's Christmas tour will take them all over the United States – which sounds like the mother of all holiday travel headaches. But Wright says otherwise.
"We’ve been doing it now for 12 years now, believe it or not, which is quite a while, but we really look forward to it every year," he said. "It’s one of the highlights and it’s really become a tradition within our families. We travel everywhere from southern California up to Seattle and through Texas and Florida and all the usual places – New York, Long Island, Connecticut. It’s a great tour."
Wright says that the show offers a "broad mix" of holiday music and traditional Irish tunes.
"I think they probably wouldn’t let us out of the theater if we didn’t do at least a fair share of Irish songs," he said. "We always do. A lot of the first half is Irish music and a few in the second half as well.
"There are a few that are Irish and yet are Christmas songs, as well, like ‘Fairy Tale of New York,’" he said, referring to the song written and originally recorded in 1987 by the Celtic punk group The Pogues. It is his favorite song of the entire set. "I love it, personally. It has a lovely mixture of rhythms and beats and I really enjoy it."
The Irish Tenors always perform with a full orchestra, which Wright says is what gives the songs their lush, filled-out feel. "It really brings a new life to all the Irish music and the Christmas music as well," he said.
Tickets can be purchased online by visiting the Marcus Center's website. Prices range from $38 to $78.
Colleen Jurkiewicz is a Milwaukee native with a degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and she loves having a job where she learns something new about the Cream City every day. Her previous incarnations have included stints as a waitress, a barista, a writing tutor, a medical transcriptionist, a freelance journalist, and now this lovely gig at the best online magazine in Milwaukee.