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2007 media

Concert raises funds for Pinellas Youth Symphony

Award of appreciation of his charitable efforts and for giving of his time for this special benefit concert PYS presents to Mr. Daniel Rodriguez with our sincere appreciation and gratitude for your contribution of music. You have given us all "A song in our heart."

Published on

May 15, 2007


CLEARWATER - Ruth Eckerd Hall, The Florida Orchestra and tenor Daniel Rodriquez have combined forces to offer a concert to raise funds for the Pinellas Youth Symphony. The concert will take place, Wednesday, May 30, at 7:30 p.m. at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

“We are overwhelmed by the forethought and generosity shown by one of our major benefactors in making this concert possible,” said Jane Hine, PYS executive director. “Our benefactor personally encouraged the orchestra, Daniel Rodriguez and the management of Ruth Eckerd Hall to offer their services gratis. All funds raised through this concert will directly benefit our youth symphony. This is indeed a landmark occasion as we approach our 50th anniversary this coming season.”

Entitled "With a Song in My Heart," the concert features The Florida Orchestra, conductor Robert Romanski and Rodriquez, and will features well-known numbers such as "Be My Love," "With A Song In My Heart," "The Music of the Night," "Time To Say Good-bye" and "Nessun dorma" among others.

Rodriquez rapidly rose to fame as the so-called “singing policeman”, the New York City cop who helped bring the country an uplifting spirit of promise and hope after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Since then he has entertained audiences throughout the world.

The oldest organization of its type in the county, the PYS was founded in 1958 by a group of music educators to promote musical development and provide students with orchestral experiences. Under the guidance of a board of directors composed of music educators, parents, professional musicians and community leaders, PYS has earned recognition as an outstanding musical organization. Kindergarten through Junior College aged students benefit yearly from professional staff that blends inspiration with instruction in the techniques of orchestral and ensemble performance.

Over the years PYS has grown from a single orchestra to an organization that offers membership in six orchestras, a number of chamber ensembles and beginning string instruction classes for violin, cello and bass. Each year the Senior Orchestra has the opportunity of joining The Florida Orchestra in a Side-by-Side Concert. All PYS Orchestras and Chamber Ensembles perform numerous times throughout the year in the county’s most prestigious concert halls.


Following the dream of his youth
Thursday, March 1, 2007,

Kathie J. Meredith

Messenger Post Staff

Remember the images of Sept. 11, 2001: the living people covered in white ash, the dead, the firefighters and police, people carrying photographs of missing loved ones, buildings crushed into the earth. Remember the sounds: sirens, cries, the silence. And, in the aftermath, the sound of Daniel Rodriguez, the "singing policeman" who provided comfort with his interpretation of "God Bless America." No longer a policeman, Rodriguez is immersed full time in his music and music is what will bring him to Roberts Wesleyan College.

His is music mixed with faith. And faith, says Rodriguez, has given him the courage to not only stand before doors of possible opportunity, but "to walk through those doors." He chuckles as he recalls how, through his youth, people would boast about their musical contacts after hearing him sing. "There were always people saying, 'I have a cousin at the Met or my brother is a Broadway producer or my uncle on my father's side (has a connection to music)...but nothing ever materialized. I was meant to do other things."

Those other things included driving trucks and cabs, working as a short order cook and catering chef, and eventually serving as a policeman in New York City. But Rodriguez, even then, had a long history in music. At age 16, he presented his first recital at Carnegie Hall. Still, earning money was a necessity after the Brooklyn-born young man married at 19 and had a son. He took on nonmusical jobs. By 24, the music continued to call and he "dusted off my sheet music from Carnegie, rented a hall, made out the flyers, sold tickets, collected the money at the back of the house, went to the front, put on my tux and did the show. I made $200 and I began my trek back into the music business."

As a policeman and singer, he performed at assorted ceremonies and functions and, in the aftermath of Sept. 11, at memorials. Rudolph Giuliani, then New York City mayor, arranged for an audition with the Metropolitan Opera which promptly slammed the door by rejecting him after a very brief tryout.

What kept him going after that dejecting experience? "It's what I am. It's who I am ... Music ~ always been an intricate part of my life for ~ long as I can remember," answered Rodriguez by phone as he is on the road, heading from Virginia for New York. Even if he never made a dime or became famous, he would stay with the music. "It's instilled in me," he adds.

So the determined young man moved on, studying with famed tenor Placido Domingo, making three recordings, performing at public television Memorial Day concerts in Washington D.C., and the 2002 Winter Olympics, among other venues, and appearing on television shows hosted by Oprah Winfrey, David Letterman and Larry King.

Rodriguez's hope is that people hearing the music will realize that "all things are possible (and) the dreams that we dream when we are young are not necessarily gone when we are older,"' he says. "We all have dreams of different things.  We have to find those gifts and use them." He cites people who say wistfully, " I always wanted to sing."

Pointing to community theater, church choirs and' other possible venues to live out those dreams, Rodriguez says, "There are a million places to sing." Money, he quickly adds, is not reason enough to want to sing.


"That's not dream." Rodriguez is hoping that his future might offer a Broadway show. Citing his first real opera experience, he notes that "what I loved the most about it was being part of a company... I long for the Broadway stage."

Meanwhile, the tenor is enjoying a solo career that will include appearances with the Cleveland Symphony in May and at the Washington National Cathedral in June. What else? "God knows (with an emphasis on the word knows) what I'll be doing," reflects Rodriguez.

"God gave me a gift and his intent was that I use it. When I use the gift, it moves people and it brings them closer to God in a sense .  My music (whether it be Christian music or "This is The Moment" from "Jekyll & Hyde" or "Bring Him Home" from "Les Miserables") is my voice. It's a ministry."


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