3 tenors give new twist to classic tunes

The 3 Redneck Tenors performed for the students at Lee Means Elementary Fine Arts Academy yesterday. The performance provided for a lot of interaction between the performers and students. Pictured from left to right are Jonathan Frugé, Matthew Lord, and Blake Davidson.

HARLINGEN — “Thank God I’m a country boy!”

The kids clapped with a youthful fervor as 3 Redneck Tenors sang the lively John Denver classic, bringing the house down with their own enthusiasm.

The trio — Matthew Lord, Blake Davidson and Jonathan Fruge — switched out with different parts of the song, creating a dynamic power that excited the kids yesterday morning at Lee H. Means Elementary School. More than 700 children sat on the floor of the cafeteria watching the performance.

The three were scheduled to perform last night in a show called “Broadway Bound” presented by the Harlingen Concert Association. The association wanted to have the three singers perform at Lee Means as part of its student outreach.

“We provide educational outreach opportunities to students in the community,” said Julie Castillo, education outreach chair.

“This season we have six groups of artists coming November through March and we’re able to provide six outreaches,” Castillo said. “We try to pick different schools or venues throughout the community.”

This was the first show of the season.

“They’re doing a new show called Broadway Bound featuring some classic Broadway hits,” she said.

But there was more to this show than some eloquent renditions of Broadway. There was humor, there was familiarity, there was collaboration with the young audience in the making of a moment.

“How many of you have heard of Dr. Seuss?” asked Lord, 58. Hands went straight up.

“You know he’s not really a doctor, right?” he asked. Everyone laughed. Of course they knew.

Then the three singers captivated the minds and hearts of the kids with a performance of “Alone in the Universe” from the work “Seussical the Musical.”

“I’m alone in the universe, so alone in the universe,” began Davidson.

“I found magic, but they don’t see it,” he continued. “They all call me a lunatic, OK, call me a lunatic, if I stand on my own, so be it.”

Lord and Fruge then stepped up and sang parts of the song, the three commissioning a well-crafted delivery with the uniqueness of their voices blending together. They also delivered Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony completely acapella, sounding out the notes with “Ba-ba-ba-ba!” The kids were intrigued.

“I think it was cool,” said Bianca Rios, 10. “It was something different. They have their own way of doing songs.”

Kristopher Cruz, 11, concurred.

“I thought it was very cool because they sing the songs very well,” he said.

The 3 Redneck Tenors were equally impressed by the young audience.

“It went great,” Lord said. “The whole show started out as a benefit for a kids’ school. They’re always very enthusiastic and they’re young. We’re supposed to introduce them to music and also just tell them they can be whatever they wanna be.”

Fruge seemed to have had as much fun as the kids.

“It was a pleasure performing for the kids and seeing their bright smiling faces,” he said. “I think we are here for them to learn. We are here for them to hear great music, and we are here for them to find out what it’s really like to be a grownup musician.”

twhitehead@valleystar.com