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2001 Media

Sept 23, 2001 -

'Prayer for America'

NEW YORK (CNN) *clips from original press -- A service in honor of the missing and dead from the September 11 deadly terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center is planned for Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, with prayers being offered from representatives of a wide variety of faiths. The service, billed as "Prayer for America," is to be simulcast on large television screens at stadiums in Staten Island and Brooklyn. 


A preliminary program that the organizers said is subject to change, the service will begin with an introduction by actor James Earl Jones at 3 p.m. EDT, followed by a welcome from talk-show host Oprah Winfrey.

The Presentation of Colors will be carried out by Adm. Robert Natter, commander in chief of the Pacific Fleet, with the New York City Inter-Agency Uniformed Color Guard and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Joint Military Color Guard. Police officers Danny Rodriguez and Ann Marie Maloney and Sgt. Kim Royster then will sing the national anthem.

They will be followed by Spanish tenor Placido Domingo and the Amor-Artis Chorus & Orchestra, who will sing "Ave Maria." Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's remarks will be followed by the ringing of the bell by a police officer from th Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. 


Bette Midler then will sing "Wind Beneath My Wings," followed by the ringing of the bell by the Rev. Earnest Lyght, a bishop. The Council of Churches of the City of New York then will offer prayer and reflection. Country singer Lee Greenwood will then perform "God Bless the USA."


The service will conclude with the Amor-Artis Chorus & Orchestra and [Marc Anthony] singing "America the Beautiful." (Original article  in error stating Daniel Rodriguez singing America the Beautiful)

Most of the tickets are to be given to family members of the dead and missing as well as to rescue workers, though a limited number will be given to the public on a first-come, first-serve basis. "The prayers are for the people missing, the people who have died and for America and for everyone that survived," Giuliani said.

Original press -

September 23, 2001 Yankee Stadium "Prayer for America".


October 28, 2001, Family Memorial Service at Ground Zero

"Star Spangled Banner" by Daniel Rodriguez at 3 minutes into video.

Click here or image below to see video at C-Span

Ground Zero memorial.jpg

N.Y.C.'s answer to Pavarotti: a singing cop


Policeman juggles desk job with auditions for the Met.
Dec. 2001, R. Scherer, 

Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

If Verdi were to write a new opera, it might run like this: A young man loves to sing, but at first he doesn't succeed. Then he joins the police, where he sings the national anthem. Thanks to his great voice and the mayor's patronage, - he cuts a CD and gets to study with Placido Domingo.

But Verdi can put his pen down - it's true. Call it the Daniel Rodriguez story. Or, maybe "l'Aria del Singing Cop."

Over the past three months, life has moved faster than a Gilbert and Sullivan libretto for the Brooklyn-born-and- raised Mr. Rodriguez. The tenor has sung the "Star Spangled Banner" to open the World Series, performed for millions during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, and hit the high notes for NBC when the network lit the Christmas tree at  Rockefeller Center. Almost everyone from David Letterman to Larry King wants to hear him croon. On top of all that, he's still trying to do his job as a community-affairs officer in Midtown South.

"I'm not the kind of person who says no to many things," says Rodriguez, immediately after singing on the nationally syndicated Don Imus radio show. "They asked me about my future the other day, and I said, 'Five years from now, I'd like to get some sleep.' "

That won't come anytime soon. Tom Scott, producer of the Emmy's, heard Rodriguez sing at a rehearsal for the annual television awards. "I was so moved by his rehearsal - in ways I can't describe - that I asked him if he had a record deal or would like one," says Mr. Scott.

They agreed on a deal that sends the proceeds of the single to the Twin Towers Fund, to help the victims of the Sept. 11 attack. The CD was released last week, and Manhattan  Records/EMI will release a full album in February.


Life hasn't always been such a dream for Rodriguez. He grew  up in Brooklyn's Sunset Park section, the son of a transit authority employee, who also loved to sing. "My father was the life of the party," says Rodriguez. "He'd grab the guitar - he couldn't play - but he'd start singing."

The youth picked up on it right away. At age 13, he started taking voice lessons. For eight years, he was in a repertory company, and at 16 had his first recital at Carnegie Studios.

Police Academy...savvy career move

But at the same time, he had a family. It meant that he had to start thinking about a different kind of C note - the type that comes with pensions and benefits. He worked as a short-order cook, a truck driver, and then in the Post Office. He kept singing whenever possible, but when he was about 30, he got a call to enter the Police Academy. "I thought it's about time to hang up my hat. I can always keep singing, so I took the police job because it's great and every day is a new experience." When he entered the Police Academy, Rodriguez knew that the NYPD looked for a rookie to sing the national anthem at graduation. So he marched up to the lieutenant's office - a bold move for a recruit. Rodriguez snapped off a salute and said he had arrived to audition.

"What makes you think you can sing the national anthem?" replied the officer. "I wouldn't be here if I couldn't," answered Rodriguez, who then sang it. "Boy, you're going to be singing in Madison Square Garden," the lieutenant said after hearing the recruit.

The police department quickly assigned Rodriguez to its ceremonial unit, which sings the "Star Spangled Banner" at sporting events - some of them frequented by Mayor Rudolph  Giuliani, an opera fan from his youth.
"Some time ago, I decided Danny has tremendous talent," says the mayor. "He has a really beautiful tenor voice that is quite lyrical and very powerful."

The mayor quickly decided to become a benefactor of sorts, and picked up the phone and called the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera Company, Joseph Volpe, to suggest that they audition the policeman. As Rodriguez tells it, he answered Volpe's call by saying, "yeah, who? The Met?" But the audition didn't proceed as smoothly as a nervous Rodriguez hoped it would. Almost instantly, the Met's director of music administration, John Fisher, began interrupting Rodriguez's singing with instructions. The policeman "tanked the C."  "I sounded like Tarzan," he says of the failed audition.

Opportunity knocks ... again

A month later, the phone rang again. Opera star Placido Domingo was planning a fundraiser and had heard about the singing cop. Another audition was arranged, this time at the Lincoln Center. On the day of the audition, no one could figure out how to turn on the lights. The studio was completely dark when the famous Spanish tenor walked in and heard Rodriguez singing,

"Be My Love," one of Domingo's favorite songs. The world-renowned opera star sat in the dark and listened. This time Rodriguez hit the right notes. Domingo suggested an aria next. "The Metropolitan audition came back in full force," recalls the policeman. "I was like: AAARRRGGHHH!"

Afterward there was a long silence. "I'm thinking, that's it buddy boy, pack your bags, it's back to the beat," recounts the policeman. Instead, Domingo complimented Rodriguez and invited him to Washington this March to be part of his Young Artists program. When Rodriguez asked if he wasn't too old to be eligible, Domingo told him that he was going to make an exception in his case.

Rodriguez says it's not fame or fortune he's interested in. "My ministry is to sing and to share with as many people as I possibly can. What comes from that is icing on the cake, but it's not my focus." But what about being a policeman? Rodriguez wants to continue for as long as he can. But he says, "My first love is music. I've been singing since I was 12 years old, and it's taken me 25 years to become an overnight sensation."

Verdi, can you beat that for a story line?

A Voice Heard Around The World
Source: Manhattan Records Dec 2001


As it did for all Americans, history intervened for Daniel Rodriguez on Sept. 11, 2001. Like his colleagues, the seven-year veteran of the NYPD stepped up in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on America, going above and beyond the call of duty to help restore a sense of stability and community. But Rodriguez had something unique  to offer in this difficult time, that of the magical effect of his remarkable tenor voice. In a matter of days, his stirring a cappela performance 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 fellow Americans. Daniel Rodriguez became "America's tenor."

Inspired by the voice of the legendary tenor, Mario Lanza, the Brooklyn native earlier had captured the imagination of the public when former NY city Mayor Rudolph Giuliani introduced him at a NY Yankees game, where he captivated the crowd with his rendition of the National Anthem. The wave of acclaim that greeted his appearances after 9/11 only confirmed that first impression. In the fall of 2001, Rodriguez signed a recording contract with Manhattan Records, a division of Capitol Jazz & Classics. The tenor makes his album debut in Feb. with the release of "The Spirit of America," produced by Tom Scott. This follows on the heels of his first single "God Bless America" with a spoken introduction by Mayor Giuliani and a new song, "We Will Go On." The single was released on Dec. 11, 2001, on the three-month anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, with proceeds from its sales going to the Twin Towers Fund.

In recent months, Rodriguez has stirred television audiences with appearances on The Today Show, Live with Regis and Kelly, Good Morning America, Larry King Live, Late Show With David Letterman, The World Series, and ABC TV's New Year's Eve 2002 with Peter Jennings as well as performances on CNN and at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parage and the Christmas Tree lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center. Rodriguez also won the admiration of operatic superstar Placido Domingo who has invited Rodriguez to study with him at the Washington Opera Company beginning March of 2002.

Rodriguez has been a serious student of singing since he was ten, but "The Spirit of America" showcases his unique ability to touch his listeners. Produced by the renowned composer/producer Tom Scott, the album features Rodriguez singing the patriotic anthems "God Bless America' and "America the Beautiful," traditional favorites "Danny Boy" and "Shenandoah" and such songs of faith as "Ave Maria,"and "The Lord's Prayer," as well as the Broadway standards "Bring Him Home" from Les Miserables and "You'll Never Walk Alone" from Carousel. The 12 selections have been orchestrated by eight distinguished arrangers, including Scott, Arif Mardin, Jose Mardin, Jorge Calendrelli, Georges Del Barrio, Eddie Karam, Allyn Ferguson and Sam Nestico.

"I'm living my life-long dream," says Rodriguez, who continued to pursue his singing career even after taking on a 'day job" as a police officer at the Manhattan South Precinct. "I'm singing songs that are both meaningful to me and that inspire others. The album is a compilation of what my life has been about; a bit of the conqueror as well as the conquered, and a lot of faith. The songs reflect my own hills and valleys."

Rodriguez and Tom Scott met last fall, when the tenor was slated to sing on the second rescheduling of the Emmy Awards telecast, which was postponed when the U.S. began it's war on terrorism in Afghanistan. Scott, the program's musical director, remembers his first encounter with Rodriguez's vocal prowess. "I was told at first that the Emmy's producer, Don Mischer, was conducting a search among New York singers for a suitable finale guest. When he finally announced that it was to be the Singing Policeman, I replied, "I heard him sing on HBP at Madison Square Garden for a fight, He's really great!" Don was surprised that I knew who he was talking about. Most of his notoriety at the time was in the New York area, so the next week I arranged for him to sing "America the Beautiful" with a 300 member choir. We rehearsed over fiber optic lines, Daniel in New York and us in Los Angeles, and we were all impressed by how professional he was, especially how he hung on to that final note."

Unfortunately, a few hours later, the show was cancelled and a dejected Scott retreated to his mountain cabin. "The next morning the idea came to me like a bolt out of the blue," he recalls. "Tom, you're going to be the guy to produce the Singing Policeman." Scott contacted Rodriguez, started a dialogue and soon thereafter signed with Manhattan Records,


"I've worked with plenty of singers before, but Daniel is by far the most compassionate, the most down home,"Scott says. "He's a good hearted and funny guy, and a major talent. He has an amazing gift to give to the world. Daniel brings such a powerful voice to all the songs on the album. He has a very successful career ahead of him."

As for Rodriguez, he is pleased to have been in the right place at the right time. "This is an amazing turn of events for me, " he says. "It's a dream come true. Singing is my passion and having been blessed with this gift of music, it is my heartfelt desire to, in turn bless others with it as well." Rodriguez discovered music as a student in Junior High School in Brooklyn.

Like Placido Domingo, he was trained initially as a baritone, and even sang at Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall as a baritone when he was only 17. But his hero was Mario Lanza. "When I saw the movie "The Great Caruso" starring Lanza, I was immediately taken with his voice." Rodriguez remembers. "To me, he epitomized the tenor.

Rodriguez reached a personal crossroads when he turned 30, and like many promising singers needed an income to support his dream. Daniel decided to become a member of the NYPD. His vocal talent immediately impressed his superiors. When he and his police academy classmates graduated in March 1996 he was asked to sing the National Anthem at the ceremony in front of two thousand policemen in Madison Square Garden.

Rodriguez became one of the official singers for the NYPD, performing at departmental retirement parties, groundbreakings and other events, as well as public events, such as singing the National Anthem at a NY Giants football game. Daniel will perform at the 2002 Olympics on Feb. 8th in Salt Lake and at the White House on March 4th for President Bush.

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