9/11 ‘Singing Policeman’ to visit Washington|Rodriguez begins new concert series

Published 4:58 pm Friday, September 11, 2009

Lifestyles & Features Editor

The singing New York City police officer who became an overnight sensation after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, is coming to Washington.
Daniel Rodriguez will present the opening performance in the new season for the Beaufort County Concert Association. The event is planned for Sept. 28, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Washington High School Performing Arts Center.
Perhaps best-known for his stirring rendition of “God Bless America” during memorials for victims of the 9/11 tragedies, Rodriguez began performing as a youth. He was just 16 years old when he presented his first recital at Carnegie Hall.
Jerrie Oughton, a Washington resident and children’s-book author, has attended one of Rodriguez’s concerts with her husband, Paul. She said ticket-holders are in for a treat.
“He’s so amazing. His talent is just stirring,” Oughton said. “Paul and I went to see him in a Father’s Day performance at Centre College in Danville, Ky., several months after 9/11.”
The country was still reeling from the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Oughton recalled.
“We were still all hurting,” she recalled. “You were touched by it, or you knew someone touched by it.”
The Oughtons were immediately enamored of Rodriguez and his voice.
“It was so beautiful, and he is so powerful,” she said. “Not attending this concert is like missing Pavarotti or Caruso. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience. He’s just magnificent.”
The Rodriguez concert is one of five special events being presented by the Beaufort County Concert Association this season, according to Eleanor Rollins, association president.
A season membership includes tickets to all five events as well as the opportunity to attend reciprocal concerts in New Bern and Goldsboro, Rollins said. Memberships are $35 per person, or $45 a person for reserved-section seating.
On Oct. 20, the concert association will present “Red Hot Hollywood,” a musical revue featuring singers and dancers recreating numbers from such popular motion pictures as “Singing in the Rain,” “Mary Poppins,” “Chicago,” “Grease” and “Hairspray.”
In January, Rudolf Budginas, a classical pianist, will perform as part of the series. Trained at Moscow Conservatory, Budginas moved to the United States in 1994.
The Butch Thompson Trio, featured with Garrison Keillor on PBS’s “A Prairie Home Companion,” comes to Washington in February. Playing piano, bass and drums, the trio celebrates early and classical jazz and ragtime by such musical greats as Scott Joplin, Fats Waller and Jelly Roll Morton.
The concert series will conclude in April with “Chapter 6,” a six-man troupe from Decatur, Ill., that won the National Harmony Sweepstakes in 1994. The group’s signature pieces include “Ode to Krispy Kreme” and an eight-minute version of “The Wizard of Oz.”
For 33 years, the not-for-profit Beaufort County Concert Association (formerly Beaufort County Community Concerts) has provided live entertainment performed by nationally and internationally known musicians, vocalists, dancers and comedians.
For more information about the association or details on becoming a season member, contact Eleanor Rollins at 252-975-7524 or visit www.gobcca.org.