Ronan Tynan’s performance powerful but lengthy
Brandon Hollihan | Friday, March 18, 2005
A night of music provided by Ronan Tynan, Vince Gill and the Notre Dame Glee Club produced some powerful moments, but it could have definitely employed the philosophy of “less talk, more action.”Tynan, accompanied by a well-sized orchestra directed by Brian Byrne at the Leighton Concert Hall, began his performance with a great rendition of “Man of La Mancha,” a song that perfectly fits his gargantuan tenor voice. The man is definitely larger than life; it was surprising to see how much taller he is in front of a concert audience as compared to when he’s on a TV screen singing at Yankee Stadium. “There’s a reason they know me as ‘Shrek’,” Tynan joked, flicking his pointed ears back.Throughout the evening Tynan displayed two different types of vocal timbre: his naturally deep and carrying voice in such songs as “Amazing Grace” and “Coming from the Rain,” but a more unanchored voice in quieter ballads such as “Ellie.” Several times he made the dynamic transition from soft to full, and each time his voice changed radically. Listeners would probably have identified the deeper sound as Tynan’s unique, wonderful voice. Perhaps he can find a way to better connect that sound to the lighter (and lower) moments of his repertoire.Gill came on in spots of each of the acts, performing selected works on guitar and accompanied by cohort John Hobbs on piano. Gill played some good country music – but he sure loved to talk. “I’m guessing you’re wondering what the hell I’m doing here, aren’t you?” he asked the audience, jibing at the concert’s association with contemporary classical and country music. Between each of his songs Gill told jokes, exchanged ribs with Tynan, and reminisced about the severities of his father. Both musicians had the audience laughing several times, but it definitely prolonged the evening. It’s a shame too, because when they finally did make music together, they were fantastic; they gave an awesome rendition of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Waters,” and more of that stuff – rather than an overdose of jokes and story sharing – would have been extremely satisfying.Tynan and Gill also used their music to relay their relationships with their families, and they did so very poignantly. Tynan performed “Passing Through,” a song he wrote along with help from Byrne in tribute to his mother who ails from Alzheimer’s disease. In a recent Primetime Live interview, Tynan spoke about how his mother pushed him through his physical handicaps and struggles with lower limb disability, and how this song conveyed that the woman who guided him so valiantly could never enjoy all her son had accomplished. Meanwhile, Gill performed works dedicated to his father, including a hilarious anecdote about his mother verbally terrorizing dad all day long.The Glee Club performed several traditional songs from the upper choral seats of the Leighton, featuring Gabriel Torres, Colin Pogge and John Pfister as soloists. Violinist Gregorgy Harrington also had the opportunity to perform a couple of well-known solo works. Byrne, for his part, kept everything in the orchestra running smoothly, as did Dan Stowe with the Glee Club. The concert finished with some great encores, including U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” and Tynan’s signature interpretation of “God Bless America.” All in all, it was quite a fun night, but it was also around eleven o’clock when the show ended, and picking up of the pace wouldn’t have hurt things that much.