There are a few reasons singer Nathan Pacheco is excited to be back in Chicago.
With two PBS concert specials and a new self-titled Disney Pearl debut album, Pacheco is eager about headlining his first solo North American tour, which includes Chicago at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Harris Theatre for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St.
During his last visit to the Windy City in August, Pacheco sang the national anthem at a White Sox game and also had the chance to meet Scottie Pippen, one of his favorite basketball stars.
Tonight, another of his dreams comes true when he sings the national anthem at the United Center for the Chicago Bulls game against the Boston Celtics.
"I'm so lucky to be doing what I love and having so many opportunities while I travel to perform," said Pacheco, 32, speaking by telephone over the weekend from Washington D.C., the prior tour date city before arriving in Chicago.
Like Andrea Bocelli and Josh Groban before him, music critics praise Pacheco for mastering the art of pop/classical crossover. His new album, titled "Nathan Pacheco," produced by Leo-Z, was released in September.
He counts Yanni as one of his mentors since it was touring with the singer as a featured vocalist during the 2009 tour for "Yanni Voices," produced by Walt Disney Records, that helped him get signed to the Disney Pearl Series sub-label.
As a talented songwriter, even though born in Virginia, the tenor said he uses his family's Brazilian descent for inspiration, while able to sing in four languages and embracing everything from pop to folk to opera.
"When people think opera, they naturally think of Pavarotti and friends kid me about how I need to start eating plates of pasta to fit the opera image," Pacheco said.
"But what's most challenging about touring and traveling is staying healthy and making sure my voice stays in good form."
Growing up near the nation's capital, he said he developed a love for music as a child. His mother, a piano teacher, started him early with piano and violin lessons. Though basketball was his focus for a while, by high school he was a serious student of voice.
During a college study-abroad program in Italy, he said, he really began fine-tuning his life's calling and passion.
"If not music, I love history and I really thought about being a professor," he said.
Following his PBS television special "Nathan Pacheco: Live in Concert," that began airing in August, up next it's "Nathan Pacheco: Christmas," airing in December.
"I always stay open-minded and take advantage of an opportunity," he said.
"When a door opens, you need to walk through it. You never know how many more open are waiting for you if you walk through that first one."