Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Welcome Fit For a Tim

Today's word from Gotham: goodbye, Metropolitan Diva...

...and hello, Irish Tenor....

No joke, that: at Archbishop Timothy Dolan's request, the Cantor of Yankee Stadium Ronan Tynan will perform at the Appointed One's 15 April installation Mass in St Patrick's Cathedral.

Best known for his post-9/11 renditions of "God Bless America" during the 7th Inning Stretch at the (now-shuttered) House that Ruth Built, the South Bronx fan favorite will sing "Ave Maria" at the liturgy's offertory and "Panis Angelicus" post-Communion. Yet unlike the unforgettable 2000 performance turned in by Renee Fleming -- who performed Mozart's Exultate, Iubilate at the invite of then-Archbishop Edward Egan on his installation day -- Tynan will make his contributions from the cathedral's choir loft, shoehorned in alongside 125 choir members and a score of instrumentalists.

The announcement at this morning's pre-handover press briefing at 1011 headlined a raft of ritual, personal and historical touches in store for the two-day rites that'll see the 59 year-old Midwesterner fulfill what's long been foreseen as his destiny by taking up American Catholicism's most storied post.

The tenth archbishop of the "Capital of the World" has also specially requested the singing of the Te Deum -- the church's traditional hymn of thanksgiving -- in its easily-joinable English arrangement:

Given the Easter Wednesday timing, most of the rest of the music will be stock Resurrection-centric hymns... suffice it to say, though, the feeling 'round the Big Apple church these days just gives the context a double meaning.

What's more, an Irish blessing will be sung at the 14 April Vespers service, and two different settings of the Ecce Sacerdos Magnus are on-deck for the twin liturgies.

One hitch, however, remains: the Gotham brass are still figuring out how to make the new arrival's traditional three knocks on the cathedral's Great Bronze Doors emit a sound.

"We've tried everything," longtime archdiocesan spokesman Joe Zwilling said.

For the record, achieving the effect was considerably easier at Dolan's 2002 installation in Milwaukee -- the wooden doors to the Cathedral of St John the Evangelist yielded a memorable echo as the archbishop-elect slammed his fists against 'em.

Earlier this morning, a civic sendoff was given Dolan at Milwaukee City Hall.

Lots to type, so more soon... yet for the meanwhile, another winning raft of shots from Sam Lucero of the Green Bay Compass-News, who chronicled Sunday's final farewell liturgy in Brewerville... miles-long reception line included: