Acclaimed tenor Michael Amante — affectionately known as “the People’s Tenor” — entertained music lovers of the DuBois Area Community Concert Association Sunday in the DuBois Area Middle School auditorium with both his penetrating voice and charisma.
Dressed in a long black jacket and black slacks, Amante, demonstrating his versatility, belted out a repertoire which included Broadway, jazz, rock, gospel, and American standards, as well as the soaring notes of high opera. After each song showcasing his talent, the audience burst into strong applause.
He used his incredible voice with a special dramatic flair and much emotion singing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Music of the Night” from the musical, “Phantom of the Opera.” He immediately followed that selection with a passionate performance of “Til I Hear You Sing,’ from the Phantom sequel, “Love Never Dies.”
His unique renditions of “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You,” by Elvis and “Unchained Melody,” by the Righteous Brothers had the audience singing along.
His breathtaking finale, “Nessun Dorma,” elicited a standing ovation and loud applause from the audience at the show’s conclusion.
Amante’s accolades include singing for four U.S. Presidents and Pope John Paul II and he has been called by Tony Bennett as the “next Mario Lanza.” His stage appearances include leading roles in West Side Story, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, Lil’ Abner, Puccinni’s Madame Butterfly, and La Bohéme, as well as Cavaleria Rusticana.
Amante told the audience he is the son of a decorated World War II Army Air Corps veteran, a pilot of nearly 100 combat missions. One of his most personal projects is a patriotic recording titled Amante Salutes America, profits of which are donated to the nation’s disabled veterans. It was from his mother and father that he acquired his love of classical composers as well as a strong sense of pride in his heritage.
A native of Syracuse, N.Y., Amante’s mother wanted him to be a priest while his father wanted him to follow in his footsteps and become a doctor.
Now living in Florida with his wife and three children, Amante drove to DuBois alone in his fairly new Mustang.
“I wanted to get to know the car,” Amante said with a smile. “It has six speeds and it’s very fast.”
He passed the time away on the long drive by listening to the music he grew up with — Journey, Foreigner and Kansas.
Amante’s performance was the last show of the DACCA’s 2018-19 season. The DACCA is a non-profit organization that has been bringing artists and audiences together in the DuBois area for more than 55 years.
Though most members of the DACCA are local, Amante’s voice and presence has captivated Forrest and Sandra Blood, of Willingboro, N.J., so much that they drove five hours to see him perform on Sunday.
“We’ve seen him over 200 times,” said Sandra. To be exact, they have seen him perform 258 times.
“We just love his singing,” said Sandra, noting that it started when her mother had seen him on the Regis and Kathie Lee show nearly 20 years ago.
“My mother said, ‘You have to see him. He’s so handsome, he’s so good.’ I was working, so I never saw that show,” said Sandra.
So when she retired, Sandra said she got to see the show one morning and Amante was on it again. For her mother’s 80th birthday, Sandra and her husband decided to take her mother, who lived in Rochester, N.Y., to Syracuse to see Amante perform.
“We sat in the front row, the three of us, and he said something like, ‘Who’s 90? Who’s 85?’” Sandra recalled. “I never ever talked to anybody on stage. I’m a quiet person. And we never saw anybody more than once, no matter how good.”
Sandra said she became kind of anxious and told him her mother was 80 years old that day and he was her birthday present.
“He said to my mother, ‘You’re 80 years old? God bless you. Happy birthday.’ And the three of us were hooked from that day on,” said Sandra. “We like the fact that he’s very down to earth.”
The last time they saw him perform before Sunday’s performance was in Staten Island in February.
For additional information about the DACCA, contact Frank Foulkrod at 371-1764 or Marcheta Kovalyak at 814-653-2986.