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No mere green-shaded knock-offs of their more famous Mediterranean counterparts, the Irish Tenors comprise three vocalists with individually distinguished careers who came together for a concert at Ireland's giant Royal Dublin Society complex. The concert, accompanied by a sixty-piece orchestra, was well attended and was recorded for television. What cemented the three singers into a group, however, was the broadcast of the concert during the U.S. television PBS network's fundraiser in March of 1999. The broadcast, with favorites like "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling" and "Only Our Rivers Run Free," rode the crest of a new American Irish craze, and the trio was contracted for further recordings.
The three Irish Tenors are John McDermott, Ronan Tynan, and Anthony Kearns. McDermott, an Irish Canadian, in 1995 recorded a group of Irish songs for his parents' fiftieth wedding anniversary; a copy of the tape fell into the hands of the EMI Music label, which immediately signed him to a multi-album contract. Tynan has overcome the disability of two prosthetic legs to win honors that include not only top finishes at various European vocal competitions, but also several equestrian championships. Kearns is a leading lyric tenor in Ireland who has also toured with the English Light Opera Company. McDermott left and was replaced with Finbar Wright before the Irish Tenors toured in 2000. The group's album roster includes Home for Christmas (1999), Live in Belfast (2000), Ellis Island (2001), We Three Kings (2003) and Heritage (2004). Tynan left the fold the following year and was replaced by founding member John McDermott. The resulting collection of inspirational works, Sacred, arrived in 2005.