StowTown Records to Sign Classical Broadway Tenor

StowTown Records to Sign Classical Broadway Tenor December 19, 2012

Ernie Haase posted a video on twitter today featuring classically trained tenor singer J. Mark McVey, who has toured the world singing on Broadway, including the role of Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. Ernie said that McVey was “an upcoming StowTown artist.” I’m excited to see such talent coming into the southern gospel fold. Here is a sample of what McVey can do. Can I just say, at the risk of being lambasted, that I like him better than David Phelps:

[Edit: I included the above video because it’s one of his most recent performances—here’s a slightly older one showing him in his element on Broadway itself.]
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  • Lambasted indeed…he’s good but not at the same level as David, I think. I’ll be interested to see how he translates to SG, if he’s doing a southern gospel record. I think Larry Ford is a better person to compare him to, as I see more similarities betwixt the two of them than I do with him and Phelps.

  • David may have more natural ability. Note that I chose my words carefully: I like him better. 🙂 Keep in mind however that he’s a good bit older than David. He’s 54 to David’s 43. I think his voice is aging much better than (say) Steve Green’s.

  • I agree he is more like Larry Ford. Just from this one clip I would say David displays much more emotion and personality in his performances and therefore, to me, is much more enjoyable. David enables you to feel the music…this just seemed almost mechanical…but I will watch out for more from this gentleman. Maybe it is wise to hold off on judgment until more is heard from him in the realm of sg.

  • I thought he conveyed good emotion myself (it helps that it’s an emotional song). Perhaps you’d prefer this performance from an actual staging of the musical:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v3-uDQfQeT8

  • Found this except of a news article from August 2011:
    McVey is also working with the gospel quartet Ernie Haase & Signature Sound on a project that will be a combination of southern gospel and Broadway.
    “We’re choosing all of the sacred music of Broadway,” McVey said. “We’ll just do them in a four-part or five-part vocal harmony. A more gospel type delivery.”
    The project will feature songs like “Climb Every Mountain,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat” and “Any Dream Will Do.”
    “It kind of melds two smaller groups of fans,” McVey said. “It makes for a wonderful project.”
    McVey said three songs have already been recorded, and they are currently trying to sell the project as a concert idea. They hope to have something released by the first of the year.
    “It’s a true gift to do what you love and use the gifts God gave you to make a living,” he said.
    http://www.herald-dispatch.com/life/x1507297413/Huntington-native-Mark-McVey-takes-message-of-grace-on-the-road-with-national-tour-of-Les-Miserables?i=0

  • I’m glad I found that article, because I was about to make a comment that him signing with StowTown didn’t necessarily mean he’d be releasing a SG project, but I’m glad I was proven wrong.

  • Nice find, Josh. I have to laugh though—he seems to have an awfully broad notion of what constitutes “sacred music.” Unless cliched inspo chestnuts = sacred music. 😀

  • Does This Mean That Brother Ernie Haase IS Leaving.
    The Ernie Haase And Signature Sound Guys.

  • No, no, no. There would be no Ernie Haase & Signature Sound if he left. They’re just doing a collaboration with this tenor. 🙂

  • Michael Booth

    Woo woo woo!! Lets be careful here guys!!
    First Steve Greens voice is in excellent condition. If its a range question about him, I assure you, he is as high as he ever was. He has CHOSEN to keep things in a reasonable range for the last few years. A wise move, I believe, so that, he can keep the quality of his voice as beautiful as it currently is and always has been. Also I think the church is used to getting goosed by high endings. As a tenor, it becomes burdensome to sing in my upper range all night and I don’t sing as high as Steve did in the past.
    Secondly, I’m not able to listen to this video, at the moment. I’m sure this guy is fantastic if Ernie has signed him. Having said that, lets be carful with the Phelps comparisons. I think David is a very special gift to the world of music. Can we not just “enjoy” these amazing voices without trying to set one above the other? I realize the comments began as statements of preference but, It always leads into a “who is better” discussion.
    Bottom line is I want to encourage all of you to simply enjoy these voices God has given these men. I fear comparing too much leads to a loss of appreciation of one or the other.
    Just a couple thoughts.
    MB

  • Hey there Michael, thanks for commenting! I think I speak for all of us when I say we greatly enjoy every singer being discussed, not least of all Steve. If you look on my About page, you’ll see that I list Steve Green as my favorite singer. I rave about him constantly. And make no mistake he can still get up there! But although I think you’re right that he makes conscious decisions about how hard to push himself, I would still say that McVey’s voice has retained more body over the years. That’s not to take away from Steve by any means! Voice study fascinates me, and even though I know it gets personal for some people, it’s never personal for me.
    I also enjoy Phelps’s singing, and although I tease him sometimes about his “expressiveness,” I would never deny his immense talent. I actually admitted that he probably has more natural talent than McVey, but I do prefer McVey’s style. The fact that I’m known to tease Phelps is a long-standing joke around here and folks know that I respect his abilities.
    I’m glad you dropped in. Our intention is never to be mean-spirited towards any artist. We do indeed enjoy what all of them bring to the table. Unlike some other blogs (okay, one blog in particular) where conversation quickly descends into mud-slinging, we have only a genuine love for this music.

  • Michael Booth

    Thanks for the response! Well said. Keep up the good work.
    MB

  • Thank you for stopping by! (I hope you don’t mind, I took the liberty of moving your second comment up a little so that it was responding to my most recent reply.)

  • I realize I am responding late to this subject but I have recently become an ardent fan of Mark McVey. My regret is that i never saw him live in Les Mis. I’ve seen Ramin Karimloo, the current JVJ live and will be going to see Alfie Boe in the role in September2015.. Ramin is very convincing and adapted to the part physically- Alfie has exceptional operatic training which again is story telling.The comparison of Mark to David Phelps and Steve Green is lopsided. You are comparing apples and oranges. Musical theater requires acting and conveying the emotion of the story through the music of the composer/author. SG, though technically challenging , doesn’t carry the listener through a complete story. I’ve heard Mark sing “Climb Every Mountain” with EHSS and he brings an emotion to the song- you can hear it over the rest of the group. Marks voice and delivery goes right from the ear to the heart. I love David and Steve’s ability to compose and David’s solo albums but Mark is by far one of the best singer/ performers from the stage.His voice fills the theater and you are simply transported.

  • Well, in fairness, I’ve heard both David and Steve sing complicated pieces (including story-songs), where they were required to put a lot of thought and emotion into “painting the picture” of the lyric for their audience. See Steve’s “I Can See,” or David’s “He’s Alive.” But I agree with you that maintaining that level of expressiveness throughout an entire musical play is more challenging.