From the first song to the final stanza in the closing set, the Jersey Tenor quartet wowed the audience Tuesday at their concert in the Fox Theater.
Matthew Billman, Kevin Hack, Kenny Francoeur and Vaden Thurgood kept the crowd of 4-500 mesmerized as they sang and danced their way through pop, rock and opera songs in two 45-minute sets.
All four are classically trained and have Broadway credits.
Hack told the audience they are “Jersey proud” and especially enjoy performing songs made famous by musicians from the Garden State.
True to their roots, they opened the night with a rendition of the Four Seasons hit song “Big Girls Don’t Cry.”
From there, they jumped to a cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” followed by a medley of Frank Sinatra hits.
Then the group displayed their versatility by breaking into a rock opera, flawlessly moving from the “Funiculi” to “Still Rock and Roll to Me”, back to “La Donna Mobile,” before jumping to “Don’t Stop Believing” and closing out the medley with a great rendition of “‘O Sole Mio.”
The audience rewarded each song with thunderous cheers, whistles and clapping.
Later, the group paid honor to America’s heroes. Hack said they donate a portion of the money from CD sales to the Wounded Warrior Project.
“We want to honor them with our next song,” he said. Their a cappella version of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” earned them a standing ovation.
The group spoke of their travels around the world, touring “England, France and other great countries.”
“And we are all from Jersey and proud of it , but even more so, we are proud to be Americans,” Hack said. “We have the privilege of living in the greatest county in the world.”
After a quick costume change, they closed out the first set with Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer.”
Throughout the night, the four interacted with the audience and made several trips out into the seats to sing.
After intermission the theme changed to hip-hop. The boys came out dressed for the part, marched into the crowd to the tune “Get Down On It,” grabbed a couple of ladies and brought them on stage to dance to “Ladies Night Out.”
Then it was on to “Greased Lightening,” a song made famous by Jersey native John Travolta.
Vaden Thurgood suggested they play some Beach Boys music. “You want me to play that west coast stuff!?” Kevin Hack joked. “I ain’t having none of that.”
However, he recanted and joined in on “My 409”, “Little GTO” and “Barbara Ann.”
Then, Hack treated the audience to his favorite song.
“Growing up in Jersey, my mom always nagged and told me to ‘Shaddap You Face’ so I made it into a song that I will share with you tonight.”
Next Billman sang “Granada” as a solo tribute to Sinatra.
Thurgood brought his guitar onstage.
“Everybody knows this guy and the songs he made famous,” he said. “You know who I am talking about — Bruce Springsteen.”
He asked what Springsteen was known as and the crowd responded –the Boss. “He had a lot of hits but I am going to sing this one- ‘Jersey Girl,’” Thurgood said.
Francoeur closed out the solos with “I Will Always Love You”, a tribute to Whitney Houston.
“We have been honoring all these Jersey guys, I think It’s time we honor a Jersey sister,” he said. “She got a record contract and immediately became a star. The Guinness Book of World Records says she was the most rewarded female act of all times, selling over 200 million records.”
They tried to end the night with the Fours Seasons “Who Loves You,” but the crowd roared for an encore and they obliged with “One More Day” from the movie Les Misérables.
As they left the theater, patrons spoke highly of the show – their musical training, range and ability to change from one musical style. North Platte Concert Association Board Member Brian Horst said groups like the Jersey Tenors help keep music alive.
Thurgood said there are more than four singers that make up the Jersey Tenors.
“We are part of a larger group known as the Unexpected Surfer Boys, so sometimes different members end up at different concerts.”
Thurgood was happy to return to North Platte for the second time. “North Platte is a wonderful break from New York City,” he said. “Sometimes you get tired of the honking cabs, the noise and all the buildings and then you come out here and the people are so warm and friendly. They greet you with a hello. We are having a wonderful experience here. And the crowd – they knew a lot more music than I thought they would. I never expected them to sing along to Bon Jovi or know Jersey Girl, but they did. It was great.”
Next in the concert series. the Omaha Symphony Orchestra will perform Tuesday, March 19 at the North Platte High School Performing Arts Center.
Admission is by season membership in the North Platte Concert Association. Memberships may be purchased by contacting Pat Hoban, secretary, 1412 W. Fourth (308-534-4699). For more info, click HERE.