'Singing Policeman' performs tonight at Paramount Theatre
By Gary Popp
Published in News on March 11, 2011 1:46 PM
Daniel Rodriguez, former NYPD officer and known by many as the "Singing Policeman," will offer his tenor voice to members of the Wayne Community Concert series tonight at the Paramount Theatre.
Singer Daniel Rodriguez, known as the "Singing Policeman," will bring his classical voice to Paramount Theatre tonight.
Rodriguez's talent was showcased on the national stage following his dynamic renditions of "God Bless America" and "The National Anthem" as a New York City police officer following the tragic events of 9/11.
Like so many others, 9/11 had a major effect on Rodriguez's life.
"9/11 was the turning point in my life," he said in an interview. "It made me who I am today. It defined my life. It opened my eyes to what I was always supposed to do with my life."
Rodriguez said that life direction was sharing the talent God gave him with audiences.
"When you come to my shows, it is uplifting and inspirational," Rodriguez said. "I have a really good time on the stage and the audience goes right along with me."
While Rodriguez's rise to fame came only a decade ago, "America's beloved tenor" has a long musical past.
"My childhood was all about putting on shows and working with stage productions," Rodriguez said. "I pretty much grew up on a stage."
Rodriguez grew up in Brooklyn performing in his home borough and in Manhattan.
"As a young man I had singing, piano, and acting lessons during the week. And on the weekends we put on shows -- comedies, dramas, musicals, it didn't matter.
Rodriguez said his family recognized early his aptitude for performing, As a child, he received training in bel canto singing, a vibrant style with roots in Italian opera.
"I always had a good tonality and an interest in music," Rodriguez said.
At 17 years old, Rodriguez's blooming career allowed him to perform at Carnegie Hall.
"At that point, I knew I wanted to pursue music and performing for the rest of my life."
The projection of Rodriguez's career hit what he called "a big bump in the road" when he started a family at 20 years old, and he put his singing aspirations on hold.
"Everything stopped from one day to the next," Rodriguez said. "I had no connection to the world I had been living."
Rodriguez said he spent many years going from one job to the next to support his family and had no time for music.
"Finally I could not take it anymore," Rodriguez said. "I had to get back to what was, essentially, the best part of me."
Rodriguez said he has always been a spiritual man and that he has always let himself be led by his faith.
As a spiritual person and wanting to return to singing, Rodriguez went to familiar territory -- a church choir.
Rodriguez said he spent about five minutes with the choir before the church piano player leading the choir pulled him from the group.
"He noticed my voice overpowering everyone else's, and that I had been classically trained," Rodriguez said.
From this point Rodriguez's career began to flourish as he sang at any event he could, often with the church's piano player with whom he became close friends.
While his singing career took hold, Rodriguez also decided to join the New York City Police Department at the age of 30.
As Rodriguez continued studying opera techniques, his skill continued to grow.
"I had developed into a very big classical tenor, and I didn't know it," Rodriguez said.
In 1995, during a graduation ceremony of 2,000 cadets from the New York police academy in Madison Square Garden, Rodriguez's career reached a new level.
"All the top brass was there and about every media outlet you can think of, and I was asked to sing the 'National Anthem'," Rodriguez said. "I sang it very professionally and very trained."
Rodriguez was asked to join the department's Ceremonial Unit, singing regularly at medal ceremonies, street dedications and funeral services.
"I would do my time on the street patrol, and then I would have to go out to benefits to sing," Rodriguez.
Eventually, he left law enforcement and focused on singing.
"The police department was kind of my first agent," Rodriguez said.
Now Rodriguez records professional albums and tours the country sharing his talent.
Rodriguez will perform tonight at 7:30 as part of the Wayne Community Concerts series. If you are not a subscriber to the concerts series, a limited amount of tickets will be available at the box office.
More information is available on the concert series at waynecommunityconcerts. com.