Ronan Tynan: The Singing Doctor
Bio by The 700 Club
Ronan is known for singing at many high-profile events; Nancy Reagan invited him to sing “Amazing Grace” and “Ave Maria” at President Reagan’s funeral; he often sings “God Bless America” at NY Yankees’ games, at NASCAR events, etc. But it is his personal story that sets him apart and, some say, allows him to connect to people who have suffered tragedy. “I want people to realize that regardless of what infirmity or disability, it should never stop you from doing what you want to do,” Ronan says. Born on a farm in County Kilkenny, Ireland, Ronan’s life is an excellent example of this attitude. He was born with lower leg deformities, and was blessed with parents who told him that he could do anything he wanted to do. His ability to “keep on keeping on” comes from the loving environment in which he was raised. His parents supported him with love and never allowed him to let his disability stand in the way. He attended an all-boys boarding school and vigorously competed in athletic activities. He is a noteworthy equestrian. After a motorcycle accident – and due to worsening pain - at age 21, Ronan chose to have both legs amputated below the knee, then went full out competing and winning 18 gold medals and setting 14 world records in the Paralympics Games from 1981-1984. He is a medical doctor, with a special emphasis on Orthopedic Sports medicine.
It wasn’t until he was 30 years old when, encouraged by his father, Ronan began to study voice. It was 1993 and he was in his fifth year of medical school. “My father and myself kind of planned my singing career,” he says. “We said, ‘The world needs to hear this.’” His father missed his great musical success; he died in 1998. But Ronan says his father is part of his success. He won the John McCormack Cup for Tenor Voice less than one year after beginning classes. The next year he won the prestigious International Operatic Singing competition in Maumarde, France. His debut album, “My Life Belongs to You” turned platinum just weeks after its release. In 1998, Ronan joined The Irish Tenors, Anthony Kearns and Finbar Wright, and the trio soon became legendary, playing to sold-out audiences the world over, especially in America. Ronan did several PBS specials. After completing six best-selling albums, in 2004 Ronan left the group to go solo. He was making plans for this when he was asked to sing at Reagan’s funeral. He’d met Nancy Reagan at a surprise birthday party for her some years earlier. Ronan shared with her that his mother suffered from Alzheimer’s and they formed a bond. He lives in New York and has also bonded with his adopted city. He has befriended many in the NY Police & Fire Depts and sing often at their memorial services. Although he says he doesn’t know why people relate to him, Ronan says he believes that his life story makes him approachable. He has three siblings to whom he is very close.
How does he relax before a performance? “I pray,” Ronan says. “Because at the end of the day I think that’s the only thing that will get me through it. I’ve always said that when push comes to shove, I’m not too shy about asking God for help.” He also says his victories in life are directly attributable to his parents. “There is no doubt in my mind that my parents made the most amazing contribution to me,” he says. “You have to credit them for everything. My parents gave me everything.” Ronan loves America, and says it is the greatest country in the world. Everywhere he goes he says people have been so wonderful to him and wish him well. “Americans want you to do well,” he says, “and rejoice when you do it.” His new inspirational CD is his first on which he could do whatever he wanted. He’s co-written some of the songs. “One only gets a chance to reflect back when you get older,” he says. “People have been wonderful to me.”
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