The Canadian Tenors are a very experienced group of singers. They have performed on TV numerous times, including at the Emmys, the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and even for the Queen at Windsor Castle. So, it would take a lot to surprise them, but in 2010, Oprah managed it.
She had heard that the band were all huge Celine Dion fans, but they had never met her. When they were performing their biggest hit, Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, on her show, she arranged for the legendary Canadian singer to come out and sing with them.
Sometimes, when these things happen on shows, you wonder if the band is secretly in on it. Not this time! When Celine appears, shock is written all over their faces. Then, after a stunned pause, they continue the song, and the delight is written all over their faces. Their voices harmonise beautifully, and Celine is such a professional that she slides in with no rehearsal. It’s a one-in-a-million performance.
It’s no wonder that the video has gone viral across the internet. On YouTube, it has been viewed more than 20 million times. There are a lot of people who love it. “Not only do I respect these singers, but I love their unexpected reactions when they see Celine; that alone is priceless and shows how much they value her and how much they respect each other in return.”
So, who are the Canadian Tenors? They were created in 2004 by the International Song of Peace Award winner, Jill Ann Siemens. They were originally a trio and went through several changes. Eventually, the long-term line-up was selected as part of a search across Canada. The four members were Victor Micallef, Fraser Walters, Remigio Pereira, and Clifton Murray.
In 2012, the band signed with Verve Records. In 2013, the band was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and appeared on the hugely popular dance show Strictly Come Dancing.
Since then, they have released four albums, including two Christmas ones. Surprisingly, three of the albums went to number one on the classics chart in the US rather than Canada. They continue to tour and have performed in some amazing venues, such as Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, and the Israeli Opera House.
The band became embroiled in controversy in 2016. They were performing at an MLB All-Star Game and were singing the Canadian national anthem. The line they were supposed to sing was “With glowing hearts, we see thee rise. The True North is strong and free.” Instead, Remigio Pereira sang, “We’re all brothers and sisters. All lives matter to the great.” He also held up a sign saying the same thing.
It appeared to be a rebuttal to Black Lives Matter, and there was a lot of social media backlash in response. The band swiftly denounced his actions, and he left them shortly after.
Since then, the band has performed as a trio and continues to grow in popularity both online and live. They have 134,000 subscribers on YouTube, and their Spotify channel receives 45,000 listens per month. If you’ve never listened to them, check them out now.