This year has been an amazing career journey for Fernando Varela and the biggest part of the trip will be coming up Wednesday in a nationally-televised concert taping in Orlando.
The kid who started singing in the Villages two decades ago, this year has gone from making an album at Abbey Road Studios in England –recording home of the Beatles – to playing major theaters and arenas around the world.
Varela also is due to release a U.S. album for a label with the Universal Music Group. Varela already has had hit records in Europe. Now, Fernando is ready for his big move in America.
At 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Varela will perform a PBS “Coming Home” special at the Dr. Phillips center in Orlando. Jackie Evancho, a youthful singing star who, like Varela, can mix pop and classical styles, will appear as special guest.
Busloads of Villagers are expected to pack the place. For ticket information go to FernandoPBS.com.
“I want to share this with the people from The Villages,” Varela said recently. “This is where I got my start. I want them to be there with me for this concert.”
Maestro Bill Doherty and the late Oscar Feliu were among the mentors to Varela in his early days in The Villages. Back then, he started out singing at the old Church on the Square.
It was there he would meet his future wife, Susan, and it was in The Villages where Varela found his true calling and his voice.
Then he burst through appearing with a group called Forte on “America’s Got Talent.” They didn’t win, but the handsome young tenor attracted national attention and was on his way.
How far has he come?
Earlier this year, Varela performed to over 400,000 people on the European “Night of the Proms” with a 60-piece orchestra.
Famed producer David Foster, who has worked with Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Andrea Bocelli and Josh Groban – signed Fernando to a worldwide tour. Varela appeared with such artists as Lionel Richie, Neil Diamond, Seal, Babyface, Peter Cetera, Jewel, and Chaka Kahn.
Now, PBS is ready and expected to telecast Varela’s concert early next year.
“Originally, they wanted to film the concert for the PBS show in Canada,” Varela said at a recent concert. “But I wanted it here, close to home. I had to do it in Orlando (where he lives) and I want as many Villagers who can come, to be with me. I want them to bring all the enthusiasm and energy that creates an exciting atmosphere.
“We’re going to have busses to bring people from The Villages, because this place means a lot to me. It’s like home.”