This spring, Boyz II Men will mark five years of their residency at the Terry Fator Theatre inside the Mirage Hotel & Casino. It's a long run by Vegas standards—and long enough for the R&B vocal group to feel like a part of the community.
"When we first got out here, it was like Groundhog Day," laughs tenor Wanya Morris in noting the repetitive nature of a residency. "It was the same thing over and over again, but once we got acclimated to the community, involving ourselves in local events and gaining friends… it now feels like family. It feels like home."
Boyz II Men will be performing on a different stage on the Strip tonight. The trio is part of the Vegas Strong Benefit Concert at the T-Mobile Arena. The event brings together the best of the Las Vegas entertainment community with a diverse lineup that includes The Killers, Imagine Dragons, Cirque du Soleil, David Copperfield, Penn & Teller and more. Proceeds will benefit the Las Vegas Victims Fund that was established following the October 1 shooting on the Strip that claimed 58 lives and injured hundreds more.
Morris, a Philadelphia native, was in Las Vegas when the tragedy unfolded and remembers the night vividly. "I was in the studio recording. I had no idea. But I started seeing a lot of police cars out the window because I'm by UMC hospital. One of my friends got the news on Facebook. That's when those prayers started going up. It was real. It was surreal but real at the same time."
Morris and his bandmates, fellow tenor Shawn Stockman and baritone Nathan Morris, are eager to contribute to the healing process with tonight's performance. One of their biggest hits, "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" carries an especially strong emotional weight during times of sadness. "It's always had a special meaning," says Morris. "It's about love lost and love remembered."
However, he's quick to make one thing clear for the audience.
"We don't want to bring the people down," says Morris. "This is an event for bringing people up. That song has a tendency to do both. We want people to remember their loved ones in a good way. The lyrics say, 'The good times that made us laugh outweigh the bad.' We want this song to represent the memories they have of loving that person and not the absence of their presence."
Tickets for the Vegas Strong Benefit Concert range from $75 to $125. The show gets underway tonight at 7:30 p.m. inside the T-Mobile Arena. 3780 S Las Vegas Blvd., 702-692-1600