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Tenor of the times

TynanIrish tenor Ronan Tynan has a thing going with Buffalo. He has made a habit out of singing "God Bless America" at Sabres games here. That is Tynan in the picture, singing at HSBC Arena when the Sabres played the New York Rangers in April 2007.

"I think Buffalo is a hell of a city," Tynan told NHL.com way back in 2005.

Now Tynan's words of encouragement ("The will is inside you") are on a plaque in the Sabres' locker room and he seems to come back here pretty often. Which is reason for rejoicing. It is nice to have an Irish tenor around. The whole tradition of the Irish tenor was built up around expressing heights of emotion, of one voice speaking for many. Tynan does that. His performances are both touching and cathartic.

It is interesting to glimpse Tynan in a variety of different settings.

Here is an a cappella "God Bless America" that Tynan sang at HSBC Arena in November 2007. "His favorite hockey barn, home to his favorite hockey team," the person who posted the clip writes. On New Year's Day 2008, Tynan was back, reprising his performance at the Sabres' Ice Bowl game. You can watch that performance on You Tube here.

Now, check out his stirring performance of "Amazing Grace" at Ronald Reagan's funeral here.

Watching these performances, you can't help but be struck by the emotion of both Tynan and his audience. One You Tube viewer, commenting on his performance at the Reagan funeral, wrote:  "I have heard this man hit notes I never thought possible. Trust me, I've heard him sing in person and he is one of the most powerful singers I've ever heard."

Speaking of impressive high notes, what the heck, let's hear Tynan sing "Danny Boy." Here it is.

At 7 p.m. Sunday, Tynan is paying a visit to Kleinhans Music Hall for "An Evening with Ronan Tynan," a program of songs performed with members of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and Music Director JoAnn Falletta. For info, call 885-5000 or visit www.bpo.org. The word is that Sabres forward Drew Stafford is going to show up and join him for a song or two.

Whether you go or not, let's toast the friendship between Tynan and our town. It's certainly something to celebrate.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

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