Performers aren't often as "straight out of New York" as Ronan Tynan will be this weekend.
On Friday night, the Irish tenor will be on the field at Yankee Stadium to deliver his iconic rendition of Irving Berlin's God Bless America during a game of the American League Division Series.
On Saturday night, he'll be on stage at the Singletary Center for the Arts with the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Scott Terrell.
"I've been asked to do mainly Irish material, and I do a lot of Irish," Tynan says from his New York home. "But I do a lot of other stuff: I do opera, I do classical, I do contemporary.
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"Mostly I want to entertain the audience and give them as much as I can."
Singing is a second career for Tynan, 49. His initial work was as a physician in obstetrics and gynecology.
"I always sang at home; I sang with my father," Tynan says. "My father was a fantastic man, and we always enjoyed singing together."
It was Tynan's father who told him he should give a singing career a shot.
Before medicine, Tynan was a track and field athlete. He was in an auto accident that forced him to have his legs amputated at the knees when he was 20. But he went on to compete in the 1984 and '88 Paralympics, winning four gold medals, two silvers and one bronze. Between those games and other competitions, Tynan set 14 world records in track and field; nine of those remain unbroken.
As a competitor, he says, he was inspired by music like Only You Have the Power Within You from the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Starlight Express and the Christopher Cross hit Ride Like the Wind. He has never performed or recorded either song, but he has done plenty of pop and show-tune material.
There's a hint of Tynan's pop music tastes in his equine interests, namely his champion show-jumping stallion, Warrens town U2. "He's got a lot of character," Tynan says of his prize horse. He also says he has a Thoroughbred in his stables that he expects to see in a winner's circle one day.
In 2004, Tynan sang New York, New York before the Belmont Stakes. It was the first time in decades that the race had not used a tape of Frank Sinatra singing that song.
Tynan's Saturday concert is part of the Alltech Fortnight Festival, a precursor to the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games next fall, which Tynan says he would "really, really like to attend."
Despite all the equine activity, baseball is the sport with which Tynan is most associated. He is known for singing during the seventh-inning stretch at Yankee Stadium.
His signature song throughout has been God Bless America, although he initially confused some of the Yankee faithful when he sang the patriotic anthem at a game shortly after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
The version he sings begins, "While the storm clouds gather far across the sea ... "
"That was the original song, that was how Irving Berlin wrote it," Tynan says. "When I found it, I said, 'Absolutely, we have to do the whole song in its entirety.' It caused a little alarm in Yankee Stadium because they thought I was singing something totally different. But now they know it very well."
And the fame that comes from singing at sporting events and other notable occasions, such as the 80th birthday of President George H.W. Bush, has earned him an audience beyond people who typically attend tenor concerts. Tynan attributes that to a lot of hard work.
"If you work hard enough, you reap the reward," Tynan says. "But you must work."