Three Tenors of the U.P. to perform songs from musicals at the Forest Roberts Theatre Saturday
Fundraisers can vary from bake sales to car washes, and some even involve the use of a dunk tank and a few wet contestants. This weekend, the Forest Roberts Theatre is hosting the Three Tenors of the U.P. presented by the First Nighters Club (FNC).
Three Tenors of the U.P. is made up of three vocalists: NMU assistant professor of communication and performance studies Paul Truckey, local disc jockey Rusty Bowers, and Jeff Spencer, accompanied by pianist Jane Broderson.
“We will be singing 20 or more songs, mostly Broadway musicals. I’ve been singing for about 20 to 25 years, and each of us are either singers or actors. When I was a student I benefited from the FNC and as a professor I’d like to help out the students,” Truckey said.
All performers have had a lengthy career singing and enjoy it both as a passion and a hobby.
“The best part about singing is that it’s very passionate. Like music, we have a heart beat, and singing really makes you feel. You really feel something from it,” Truckey said.
The First Nighters Club is a combination of businesses, organizations, and persons who love the theater and want the student performers of the Forest Roberts Theatre to receive first-class professional training on stage, backstage and in the classroom.
Each year the FNC holds a fundraiser to raise money for scholarships, equipment and audition fees for their students who plan to pursue a career in the performing arts.
“Having these three sing together is a once in a lifetime thing. It was an idea I had and presented to the FNC board. It received huge support and was something that the four of us really just kind of threw together on our own to raise money,” said Denise Clark, director of the Three Tenors of the U.P.
Clark became a member of the FNC in 1999, and six years later she became president of the board. After she became president, she resigned in 2005, but has recently become involved in raising money for the students again this year.
“Most fundraisers like this are very expensive, and you don’t get much out of them other than the main event. This event, we’ll have opened it all, full ushering and all the box offices will be open. In this case, they’re going to see a dynamite slew of performances,” Clark said.
Three Tenors of the U.P. will be singing songs from the musicals “West Side Story,” “Phantom of the Opera,” “Fiddler on the Roof” and many others that the audience might be familiar with, as well as some songs from musicals that the performers wouldn’t normally be cast in.
“We’ll sing some opera pieces, some Latin pieces, as well as some Italian pieces,” Bowers said.
Starting in high school, Bowers has been singing for over 30 years and came to NMU to major in theater. Bowers is currently a local professional metal DJ, who does events throughout the community.
“I had help from the FNC when I went to Northern, and I feel it’s my duty to give back to students and help out raising money for scholarships. (Three Tenors of the U.P.) is made of fun personalities,” Bowers said. “We have a great time at rehearsal. It’s fun because we are singing to get financial aid for the musical theater.”
The cost of admission for the Three Tenors of the U.P. at the Forest Roberts Theatre is $20 for both students and the general public. The event will be held on Saturday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m.
First Nighters Club
The First Nighters Club is an NMU foundation that gives theater students opportunities and supports the area’s theater community. They work to provide students with the highest quality training in order to produce challenging, yet entertaining productions.
Theater students benefit from the First Nighters Clubs through talent scholarships, tuition and audition fees for students and interns, achievement awards and scholarships.
The First Nighters Club has also financed improvements to the Forest Roberts Theatre. These include wireless microphones, lighting instruments and wireless headset systems. They provided new lighting and sound equipment for the Black Box Theatre as well.
Sneak preview luncheons, backstage tours, post-production discussions, theater interest night receptions, senior performance receptions and other special events are hosted throughout the year by the First Nighters Club.