Ronan Tynan, The Irish Tenor, In Wolfeboro, NH, Aug. 7, 2015 Was But TOWERING Virtuosity!
by Anura Guruge
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Attribution will be enforced with gusto.
His voice SOARED. It, at times, was primeval. It had the intensity of a lion. You could feel the Viking blood that imbued the Irish centuries ago. Our dear friend, Dianne Monahan, an accomplished singer in her own right (with ‘Clearlakes Chorale‘ for one), who knows her music and her English, called his voice ‘strident’. It sure was that. I loved it. I got to sit in the front row. His high notes make my body tingle. It was sublime. Yes, I know that there were a lot of complaints during the intermission that his voice, amplified, was too loud! Some claimed that the amplification caused it to break up and I heard the word ‘saturated’ being used. I cannot attest to any of that. Sitting in the front row I might have missed the worst of the amplification because of the way the speakers are positioned. I thought he was GREAT — in every way and in every sphere. Not the cat’s whiskers, but definitely a lion’s whiskers.
Yes, I am a sucker for any and all Celtic music and this was, indubitably, a class act. I was familiar with about 70% of his repertoire (done by others) and Ronan, to his credit, let me savor them in a different light. He is quite the entertainer. It is basically two shows in one — actually THREE shows in one because his piano accompanist, Billy (‘William’) Lewis is a magical, vastly gifted musician, worthy of being classed ‘peerless’. So it was Ronan Tynan of the blessed voice, Ronan Tynan the stand-up comedian & Billy Lewis the musical maestro. I would pay and go and listen to Billy on his own. I will have to look him up. Got to interact with him fleetingly before the show and I was struck by his humility. Such a nice guy.
I knew nada about Ronan prior to the show — and I missed, because I was supposed to be doing ‘security’ (which is kind of an oxymoron), his introduction. I noticed he limped and that he made a lot of jokes about his legs. It was only during the intermission that I learned that he is a double amputee, a bona fide orthopedic surgeon and the holder of numerous Paralympic records. An author too! He is quite the guy. Read up about him. He is inspirational. Start here on Wikipedia.
I relished every second of this unforgettable concert. Yes, it has been one great show after another — every week — all Summer BUT this was, nonetheless, still special, spectacular and scintillating. I am going to follow his music more.
People who complain that live concerts are loud kind of bug me. Concerts are supposed to be LOUD. If you like to modulate the volume stay at home and listen to your iPod. I love the vibration of loud concert music. When Matthew (now 23) was young he would drag me by my hand to stand in front of the huge 10′ monitors that ‘Seven Nations‘ would use in their incredible concerts — Loon Highland Games and in other places. The power of the sound waves coming out of those speakers made your teeth rattle. Now that was loud and we loved it. Yes, I have been going to loud concerts, with glee, since I was a teenager. And, oh yes, my ears must be shot, but jeez why come to a concert and talk about wearing ear plugs! I am sure Ronan probably has some choice words for people like that.
Two small gripes. I, knowing the Irish better than most, kind of thought that some of his ‘gushings’ were a tad too patronizing and as such, came across to a professional cynic as I, as being slightly ‘over the top’ (and I don’t want say more than that). Now, reading about him, I see that he has been blackballed for a supposed politically incorrect remark — and that would explain some of his cracks about Trump. That anybody would blackball this guy for remark like that is sad and bad. But I don’t think he needs to bend over backwards, as much as he does, to make up for being Irish to the core. The other thing that bothered me was his slight girth. He is a doctor. And yes, I gather you need some bulk to be able to have a voice like that — but he, to my untrained eyes, did not look a picture of health. That is sad. He loves his red wine and apple strudel. I can empathize. I love my red wine and apple ‘anything’ too — but not having been lucky enough to have been born Irish I am able to exercise something called moderation. And lets face it, it was the 2nd most famous Irishman, next to Ronan, Oscar Wilde, who said (and I am paraphrasing here): “I have terrific will power. I can resist anything but temptation”. I guess that must be Ronan’s thinking too. I am going to stop now. Moving into Oscar territory at this juncture might not be the best move for any of us. Moderation in all things — bar two (which is my motto).