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Famous tenor brings true Irish feeling to Saint Patrick’s Day

Brandon Hollihan | Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, the world-renowned Irish tenor Ronan Tynan will perform in the Leighton Concert Hall at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center Thursday, March 17. The concert also features performances from guests Vince Gill and the Notre Dame Glee Club. The majority of today’s classically trained musicians hone their crafts through their collegiate experience, but the County Kilkenny native’s voice has gained reputation as a natural talent. He broke into singing at the age of thirty-three and after less than a year of training, won the top prize in the BBC talent show “Go For It” (a predecessor to “Pop Idol” and “American Idol” in the UK and the United States, respectively). The instant success led to his association with the “Irish Tenors” trio, along with John McDermott and Anthony Kearns.Tynan left the group last year to pursue soloist opportunities and has since essentiality made himself a household name in the United States – as well as endeared himself greatly to New York City. Sports fans undoubtedly recall his 7th inning renditions of “God Bless America” at Yankee Stadium and perhaps also his singing “New York, New York” at the 2004 Belmont Stakes. Tynan also devoted much time to funerals and memorials centering around Sept. 11, 2001, alongside such people as Bono, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Billy Crystal, Barbara Bush and Regis Philbin.The tenor was also the only soloist for the funeral of former President Ronald Reagan, a request personally made by Nancy Reagan.Tynan was born with a lower limb disability and ended up a double amputee at age 20. Even so, he had a steadfast and strong personality, and he committed himself to becoming an athlete, eventually winning a total of 18 gold medals in the Paralympics and setting world records in the long jump, shot put and discus. He also earned a degree as a medical doctor from Ireland’s Trinity College.The performance at Notre Dame kicks off a U.S. tour for Tynan. The tour is in conjunction with the recent release of his self-titled CD, featuring classic inspirations such as “How Great Thou Art” and “Amazing Grace,” as well as popular tunes such as “Man of La Mancha” and “From a Distance.” Tynan also wrote one of the songs – “Passing Through,” a tribute to his mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. While doing much work in popular and Irish folk music, Tynan has also made his operatic debut as Pinkerton in Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” and has performed soloist roles in Verdi’s “Requiem,” Rossini’s “Stabat Mater” and Puccini’s “Messa di Gloria.”The concert begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $75 preferred seating, $50 for the general public, $40 for Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross faculty and staff, $37.50 for senior citizens and $20 for all students.