Friday, April 4, 2008
WHO'S SINGING FOR THE POPE IN NY?
Beth Griffin of Catholic News Service reports on who will be singing for Pope Benedict when he comes to New York. I was happily surprised to see one of my "American Idol" favorites on the list:
NEW YORK (CNS) -- Performing for a papal event is not just another gig, even for those whose names are usually rendered in boldface type.
Headline entertainers who will sing for the crowds assembled to greet the pope at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers and at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx spoke of the opportunity as a singular experience and one they are eagerly anticipating.
Kelly Clarkson, 25, a pop singer who gained national attention by winning the inaugural "American Idol" competition in 2002, will sing several of her standards for the youths awaiting the pope in Yonkers April 19.
When the pope arrives, she will sing "Ave Maria" by Franz Schubert. Through her publicist, she said, "I was so excited to be asked to sing for the pope! I grew up singing church music, and it's always been a dream of mine to perform 'Ave Maria.' To have that dream come true on such a special occasion is truly a blessing."
Clarkson, who was raised Baptist, will return from a European performance tour as the pope arrives in the United States.
At Yankee Stadium April 20, guitar virtuoso Jose Feliciano will sing "Lean on Me," "Que Sera, Sera" and "God Bless the USA."
In an interview with Catholic News Service, Feliciano's wife, Susan Feliciano, said: "This is a great gift, the opportunity of a lifetime, to be able to participate in something so special."
She said the family attends the Church of the Assumption in Westport, where Jose is a lector, she is a catechist and eucharistic minister and their three children are altar servers.
Feliciano performed at the Vatican in 1997 with Andre Bocelli.
Metropolitan Opera tenor Marcello Giordani will sing before and during the Mass at Yankee Stadium. In the early afternoon, he will perform the Giacomo Puccini aria "Nessun Dorma" from the opera "Turandot." At Mass, he will sing "Panis Angelicus" by Cesar Franck.
Giordani, who has sung at St. Patrick's Cathedral, was invited to sing by New York Cardinal Edward M. Egan. Giordani told CNS that he, his wife and their two children attend St. Patrick's during the months they live in New York.
"It's a great honor for me to sing for the pope. It's my first experience and I'm real excited. The pope is our icon; he's Jesus on earth," he said.
Giordani said he has performed, without a microphone, at outdoor venues in Italy and France, but never in one as large as Yankee Stadium. Asked if he might be nervous performing for Pope Benedict and 55,000 Massgoers, the tenor said, "I will close my eyes and sing."
The Irish singer Dana will also perform at the stadium. She has sung at papal events in the past, including World Youth Day in 1993, 1997 and 2002. She also sang at the Superdome in New Orleans when Pope John Paul II visited there in 1987.
Jazz singer Harry Connick Jr. will perform two pieces he is composing for the event. Connick attended Jesuit High School in New Orleans.