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NYCs singing cop shares songs of hope
0513Rodriguez
Daniel Rodriguez - photo by For The Times

Daniel Rodriguez
With New Zealand duo Marla and Marissa, and jazz pianist Jesse Lynch
When: 8 p.m. today
Where: Georgia Mountains Center Theater, 301 Main St., Gainesville
How much: $25
More info: 770-534-2787

It was the first game at Yankee Stadium after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks rocked New York City, and Daniel Rodriguez had an important job to do.

The former New York City police officer, known as "New York’s Singing Cop," was tapped to sing the "National Anthem" on that poignant night.

"It was a full house. The President threw out the first pitch," Rodriguez said. "It was right after 9/11, so the city was wondering what kind of reaction we were going to have.

"To see the city come out strong, and to be able to stand there and sing the ‘National Anthem’ and get that roar from the crowd when they announced my name, knowing that the city knew who I was and what I stood for ... That was an amazing night."

Rodriguez, who said he was on duty at Ground Zero when the World Trade Center towers came down, also sang "God Bless America" at 150 victims’ funerals, including some for policemen and firemen. He will perform at 8 tonight at The Georgia Mountains Center theater to close out the Arts Council’s Pearce Series.

From performing at his fellow officers’ funerals, he got noticed by others who wanted to bring his performances to more people.

"Then I did Oprah, Letterman, Larry King, Regis, Leno," he said. "All of these people wanted me to sing on their shows because it was something positive that was bringing comfort to the city."

Then Rodriguez returned to what he said was his original calling, and began performing across the country.

"Faith has always been what’s guided me and driven my life," Rodriguez said. "So it was definitely a calling to be able to give comfort to the families of the victims of 9/11 and to be able to share that gift with them, and give them a little bit of peace in that desperate time."

Rodriguez will include songs of faith, like "God Bless America" and "The Lord’s Prayer" in tonight's concert, but he said he will also incorporate other musical styles.

"We do a little jazz. It’s all fun stuff," Rodriguez said. "The shows are everything from classical crossover, jazz to pop."

Rodriguez will be joined by New Zealand duo Marla and Marissa, and jazz pianist Jesse Lynch.

For tickets or more information, call The Arts Council at 770-534-2787.

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