'Magical' Ron Hynes performs before cancer treatment
Posted: Aug 12, 2012 9:40 AM NT
Last Updated: Aug 12, 2012 2:32 PM NT
Ron Hynes performed at Mile One Centre in St. John's Saturday night with the Wonderful Grand Band to a sold-out crowd, his last performance before undergoing treatment for throat cancer.
In signature style, Hynes, 61, was accompanied by the voices of the audience while singing his songs. More than 3,000 people were in attendance. The audience chimed in the loudest on his most well-known song, Sonny's Dream.
"He had a smile from ear to ear, and he had tears running down his cheeks at the same time," said Hynes' manager, Lynn Horne, shortly after the set.The crowd stands and cheers after the Sonny's Dream is performed with the Wonderful Grand Band and members from Great Big Sea, Hey Rosetta, and singer Amelia Curran.
Hynes was also surprised on stage by a generation of younger musicians he has influenced, including Alan Doyle of Great Big Sea, members of Hey Rosetta and singer Amelia Curran.
"He knew some people were coming, but he didn't know who they all were ... It's always special when his colleagues and friends show up and lend support."
The concert Saturday at Mile One Centre is Hynes' last performance before undergoing cancer treatment. It was organized as part of this year's Memorial University reunion. Other shows and tour dates have been cancelled.
"Very emotional to watch him," said Chris Hayden from the audience. "It was great to see him on stage."
Hynes may have looked like his usual self from a distance, but there was a change in his voice.Ron Hynes performed with the Wonderful Grand Band on Saturday. (CBC)
"What can you say," said Hayden. "His presence on stage was enough to make it memorable."
"He's been singing great lately, and it's hard to see him struggling now, said Greg Malone who met Hynes in the late 1960s and performed with Hynes on Saturday.
They have been friends, and have been performing together for more than 30 years.
People love Ron
"People love Ron. They really love Ron. He's a singer-songwriter laureate," said Malone.
"He's worked so hard and he's sung so many places, and he's always performing," he added. "The songs of Ron and the sounds of Ron are the sounds of Newfoundland, you associate them with him."
He said he was upset and shocked to learn Hynes had cancer, but that Ron has been acting himself.
"He's very philosophical, optimistic and positive and talks about it normally and hopes he'll beat it," he said.
"There's no great drama to it."
Inspiring another generation
"It's magical" that Hynes performed, said Kirk Penney, a singer and songwriter who divides his time between St. John's and Nashville. Penney says he remembers his grandmother making him dance to The Wonderful Grand Band's album 'Living in a Fog'.
"It sounds kind of grandiose to say, but I wouldn't be songwriter if it wasn't for Ron Hynes ... When I was boy I heard Ron Hynes Songs and it just made me want to write songs"
"I wouldn't be who I am today if it wasn't for his music," said Penney.Some of the audience members cheering for Hynes at Mile One Saturday. (CBC)
Manager Lynn Horne said his influence goes even deeper than music.
"And not just singer-songwriters, but authors and poets, and dancers and theatre people and film people, they've all been impacted in some way by his music and his presence as a human being."
Hoping for the best
"Maybe it will be another song, that would be great," said Greg Malone. Ron Hynes is known as The Man of a Thousand Songs.
"It's a beatable thing. It’s not operable, but people have beaten it with chemo and radiation, and Ron is a tough old bird, he's been through a lot and he's taking better care of himself, which is great."
"We have every hope that he will go on to write and sing some more for all of us in Newfoundland and Labrador."
Hynes' manager, Lynn Horne, a breast-cancer survivor herself, said he will be staying in St. John's and will be undergoing seven weeks of treatment.
"All you can do is be positive," she said.
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