Daniel Rodriguez will be the guest artist of the Tonto Community Concert Association at 7 p.m., Friday, March 5 at the Payson High School auditorium.
Tickets are available for this performance and the remaining concerts of the season by calling (928) 478-4363 or paying at the door. Student admission is free with a paying adult.
Faith has guided Rodriguez, whose rise has been a meteoric one for a young man who as a New York Police officer became one of the department’s official singers. History intervened for the now retired (June 2004) NYPD officer on Sept. 11, 2001. His stirring a capella performances of “God Bless America” and the national anthem seemed to be something far greater than graceful patriotic gestures. Ringing, heartfelt and beautiful, these songs became transcendent statements of solidarity, determination and hope that galvanized his fellow New Yorkers and Americans.
Since then, he has performed around the world including the 2002 Winter Olympics and other sporting events. He starred in the PBS Memorial Day concert in Washington, D.C His stirring rendition of “God Bless America” has moved audiences at such diverse venues as Disneyland and the “Celebration of Freedom” Inauguration concert January 2005. He has sung for President Bush on numerous occasions during both terms and at USO events.
The USO, Metropolitan Washington, presented Rodriguez with the Lifetime Achievement Award. The flag for his presentation was flown over Camp Freedom Iraq in Rodriguez’s honor and then flown to Washington for the March Awards Dinner.
Rodriguez’s third CD, “In the Presence,” produced by Blix Street Records, showcases his rich, warm tenor voice on traditional spiritual and church songs. Selections include “American Hymn,” “How Great Thou Art,” and two duets with Tony award winner, Lea Salonga: “Panis Angelicus” and “Pie Jesu.”
His first album, “Spirit of America,” Manhattan Records, went No. 1 on Billboard’s Classical Crossover chart and his second CD, “From My Heart,” is a collection of richly contrasting love songs, inspired by the legendary American tenor Mario Lanza.
With three CDs under his belt, Rodriguez is looking to the future with the same inquisitive optimism that has brought him to this point. His goals include the Broadway stage, opera and acting.
“I don’t want to limit myself,” he says. “For me, life is an experience, life is a ride; you can’t say ‘I’m going to take this road, and that’s it.’ Life has twists and turns, and you have to be able to navigate through them. Always consult your higher power. And let yourself be led too. People say ‘What do you want to do?’ and I say, ‘Well, God knows what I’ll be doing. I just kind of follow the signs.’ There have always been doors that open for me, and it’s having the courage to walk through them and experience what’s behind them that has made life interesting and has gotten me where I am. It’s about enjoying the ride.”
The remaining concerts for the ’09-’10 season are as follows: Rudolph Budginas, piano virtuoso with comedic commentary, Monday, April 19; Hunt Family Fiddlers, eight-member Hunt family featuring fiddle and footwork, Tuesday, May 11.
For subscriptions or other information, call (928) 478-4363 or (928) 474-6115. The all-volunteer group also supports other performing arts activities in the region.