The idea of forming a singing trio was first put forward by Daniel Harte and Bill Hughes, who wanted to create a television special. They first approached Finbar Wright, to be the first member of the new group, but he could not accept, since his recording contract with Sony BMG did not allow such a venture. Canadian tenor, John McDermott was then asked to head the group, and he accepted.
With McDermott as the first member, PBS contacted Anthony Kearns and Ronan Tynon for the other two spots. With the trip now complete, The Irish Tenors performed for the first time on PBS television in 1999.
Following the success of the venture, a new special was planned, but McDermott, sighting his mother’s recent death, could not commit to the project. Finbar Wright was once again asked to join, and now, free from his Sony contract, he could do so. In 2001, the group filmed its third, and most famous, special to date. Broadcast from New York’s Ellis Island, the show was hosted by famous American and Irish actor, Michael Sheen and became their most watched special.
In 2005, Ronan Tynan left the group to pursue his solo career, and McDermott rejoined. But another lineup change tool place and Karl Sully joined the group, replacing McDermott. Sully would remain a member of the group until 2011, when Tynan rejoined and completed the classic lineup.
A founding member of the Irish Tenors, Kearns has been recognized as one of Ireland’s premier tenors. Apart from his work with the Tenors, Kearns has become an in-demand Operatic performer, and has performed in a number of Operas. As a youth, Kearns participated in and won a number of singing competitions and specials. He has won the prestigious Dermot Troy Trophy for Ontario twice, was the Best Male Singer at the Waterford International Festival of Light Opera, and was chosen as the Best Irish Singer at the ESB Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition in 1999. In 2010, Kearns was recognized as the Best Irish Tenor in the US, US and the European Union.
Apart from his work with the Irish Tenors, Tynan has gained widespread fame for his performances at major events. He is famous all over America for his renditions of God Bless America at Yankee Stadium before important occasions and games. These include Opening Day, playoff games, and nationally televised games. Tynan also had the honor of singing at the last game at Old Yankee Stadium. Tynan was also a performer at the 1984 and 1988 Summer Paralympics, and has occasionally sung for NHL’s Buffalo Sabres. Tynan has also been a regular performer at Presidential events. He sung Amazing Grace and Ave Maria at former US President Ronald Reagan’s state funeral, performed at George Bush Sr.’s 80th birthday, said the prayer service marking George Bush’s second inauguration and was a performer at the 2008 President’s Dinner.
Before joining the Tenors, Wright had a successful career as a solo artist, which continues till today. One of Ireland’s most popular singers, his repertoire includes romantic, pop and jazz standards, making him one of Ireland’s premier romantic singers. With multiple gold and platinum hits in Ireland, Wright is a two time IRMA "Male Entertainer of the Year" and has won BBC Cardiff’s Singer of the World Award.