Raised on a dairy farm in Kilkenny, Ireland who now proudly calls Boston his home, our next speaker, internationally acclaimed Irish Tenor Dr. Ronan Tynan, will inspire you with his personal story of triumph and his impassioned singing. A natural born storyteller and gifted with humor, he will move you to live life to the fullest. Please welcome Dr. Ronan Tynan.
Ronan Tynan is truly a modern day “Renaissance Man.” Faced with numerous challenges throughout his
Tynan’s singing offered the gentlest consolation at the funeral of President Ronald Reagan in the summer of 2004, when an international TV audience of more than 35 million heard him sing “Amazing Grace” and Schubert’s “Ave Maria,” at the personal invitation of Nancy Reagan. Ronan is also famous for his performances of “God Bless America” at Yankee Stadium during the seventh-inning stretch, which he says have been nothing short of unforgettable. In 2006 he started an affiliation with the Buffalo Sabres hockey team and has performed "God Bless America" at many of their games.
Ronan’s ability to simultaneously console and inspire is well-documented. In the wake of 9/11, the men and women of the New York Police Department and New York Fire Department and their families have been able to count on Ronan Tynan’s abiding concern and beautiful voice. Ronan has performed at benefits and memorial services for New York’s Finest and Bravest, and his singing softened the sorrow of many in the wake of the tragedy.
Of course, there have been plenty of joyous moments in Ronan’s career as well. In the spring of 2004, the Belmont Stakes got off to a rollicking start when Tynan—a passionate horseman himself—christened the race with a ringing rendition of “New York, New York.” This is of particular interest marking the first time ever in Belmont’s 30-year history that a singer was invited to perform live as they traditionally play the version recorded by Frank Sinatra. Tynan has performed for countless dignitaries worldwide including the wedding of New York’s former Mayor Rudolph Giuliani to Judith Nathan on the grounds of Gracie Mansion. His voice also brightened the 80th birthday celebration of former President George H.W. Bush in the summer of 2004 in Houston.
In the spring of 2005, Ronan released his self-titled debut album, which began a new era in his career. “I think it shows a greater versatility than any other album I’ve done,” Tynan has said. “I wanted to sing a greater variety of music and spread my wings a bit, make a move out of the classic ‘Irish tenor’ vein.” The album contains the heartfelt “Passing Through,” which honors Ronan’s mother, whose vibrant spirit has been taken away by the long night of Alzheimer’s disease. Ronan
Ronan sang at the White House Governors' Ball at the invitation of President and Mrs. Bush in
Though Ronan enjoyed singing as a boy, he did not seriously consider formal voice study until he was 33, when he was well into his residency as a physician. His quick success is a typical development in a life of extraordinary achievement. Born with lower limb disability that threatened to sideline him throughout his childhood, Tynan was still “as wild as a March hare” when he was a growing boy, riding horses and racing motorcycles. When he was twenty, his legs had to be amputated below the knee after an auto accident caused serious complications. Just weeks after the operation, he was climbing up the steps of his college dorm, and within a year, he was winning gold medals in the Paralympics as a multitalented athlete. Between 1981 and 1984, Tynan amassed eighteen gold medals and fourteen world records of which he still holds nine.
The determination instilled in Ronan by his parents, a diminutive couple with gigantic ambitions for their son, soon propelled him to conquer a whole new field. Tynan became the first disabled person ever admitted to the National College of Physical Education. He later became a full-fledged medical doctor, specializing in orthopedic sports injuries, with a degree from prestigious Trinity College.
Ronan won both the John McCormack Cup for Tenor Voice and the BBC talent show Go For It less than one year after beginning the study of voice. The following year, he won the International Operatic Singing Competition in Maumarde, France. He made his operatic debut as Pinkerton in Puccini’s Madame Butterfly, and cut his teeth on the concert repertoire in performances of Verdi’s Requiem, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Handel’s Messiah, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, and Puccini’s Messa di Gloria. In 1998, Tynan joined Anthony Kearns and John McDermott (later Finbar Wright) as The Irish Tenors, an instant worldwide sensation. His autobiography Halfway Home was published in February
Ronan is one of the most
The big Irishman has a special relationship with American audiences now. "America is powerful and intense, and it begs you to take it on," Tynan marvels. "If you do that and do it right, it will give you absolutely everything you want. The thing I love about America is that there are so many people who want you to do well. They will you to do well. They encourage you, and they rejoice in your success. That's a great virtue. I think Americans are fantastic people, amazing," he says. And while Tynan claims that America has given him so much more than he'll ever be able to give back, those who have attended his concerts, basking in the stirring beauty of his music and rolling with laughter at his self-effacing humor, may well just have to disagree.