Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Singing Cop

Last evening I was privileged to attend a performance by Daniel Rodriguez, the "Singing Cop." Rodriguez became widely known in the aftermath of the horrendous attack on the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
I am not much of a fan of vocalists, so I was not particularly enthusiastic about attending last night’s event. I had the idea that Rodriguez was just a cop who happened to have a nice voice, and I was surprised and delighted to learn that he had been seriously studying music since he was ten years old.
And it shows. He has been blessed with a voice that one expects to be associated with an Italian name such as Caruso or Lanza, but his heritage is Puerto Rican, and he has trained with some of the finest teachers in New York. He performed in Carnegie Hall at the age of 17.
With a repertoire ranging from the sentimental style of Be My Love  to Nelson Eddy’s Stout Hearted Men, the range and power of Rodriguez’s voice is amazing. If I had to pick a favorite, I would choose his rendition of the theme from Exodus, although his every selection would have been in contention for the nomination.
Rodriguez shared the stage with the Soprano Twins, Marla Kavanaugh, Rodriguez’s wife, and her twin sister, Marissa Dikkenberg. Both have excellent operatic voices, and when they sang in unison, it sounded like a single voice. And when they sang in harmony, it was beautiful
In addition to the many high points of the evening as supplied by the principals, I must mention one other, the accompanist, Jesse Lynch. He performed Billie’s Bounce by Charlie Parker, probably my all-time favorite musician. His combination of the dissonant harmony of Thelonious Monk and his outstanding technical virtuosity would have made both Parker and Monk happy to know that there are still young musicians who carry on with their music. From the reaction of the audience I know that there are many who agree with me.
Without doubt the events of 9/11 jump-started Rodriguez’s career. Since that time he has brought not only pleasure, but also a return of faith to millions of people across America. To me it illustrates that even from the most terrible of circumstances it is possible to glean some good. Probably the converse is also true, but since I tend to be a “glass is half full” type of guy, I try to ignore that possibility.

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