Chanticleer's Colorful Anchorman

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, December 12, 2007

(Alatorre, singing: “Kyrie eleison…)

Eric Alatorre found his voice – a distinctive bass voice – before he was old enough to drive.

(Alatorre, singing: “Kyrie eleison…)

Alatorre: “You know, I was basically singing with most of this range when I was 14…. And I had good people steering me, it’s like ‘You need to know about this kind of music, you need to know about this kind of singing, because you’re kind of built for it. ”

Alatorre was a Latino kid in Orange County – his grandparents came from Mexico. A career in classical music seemed unlikely. But he loved singing, and a concert experience firmed his resolve. After hearing The Kings Singers, a British a cappella group, Alatorre was left with one thought in mind:

Alatorre: “I wish I could do that.’

Alatorre moved to San Francisco, a musical mecca. He sang a lot, and in 1990, he joined Chanticleer. When the group toured, Alatorre found himself back in the same theater where he’d heard the Kings Singers.

Alatorre: “I was on the very same stage, as a member of Chanticleer, and looking up at that seat that I’d had, thinking ‘how did this happen? How can it be that I’m doing what I wanted to do?’ "

(Music: “Wade in the Water”)

Eighteen years later, Alatorre has become a Chanticleer institution, partly for his deep voice, but also that crazy handlebar mustache.

(Laughter)…”A practical joke in college that has gotten seriously out of hand over 21 years.  It’s probably about a foot from tip to tip. And luckily I have a very understanding wife now, who doesn’t seem to mind the mustache very much. She’s smiling next to me.”

(Music: “Oh Jersualem in the Morning”)

As sings on yet another Christmas tour with the group, Alatorre gets little reminders that he’s not a kid any more.

(Alatorre: “A lot of my colleagues come up to me and say ‘Oh yeah, I remember seeing you when I was in boys choir, when I was eight or seven or whatever.’ And it’s already come to that, where it’s the next generation. And somehow I’m still around.” (Laughs).

(Music, out)

Eric Alatorre joins his colleague to perform A Chanticleer Christmas on Sunday, December 16th at 3 p.m. at the Mondavi Center in Davis.