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Theodore Rodriguez - Brenda's Superfan

Updated: Feb 25

Brenda may or not be classed as a Celtic Superstar, but she certainly has a Superfan. Theodore Mendenhall Rodriguez is his name.

In December 2013, I received a large number of orders for Brenda merchandise from an address in Denver, Colorado. Intrigued, I wrote to find out a bit more about him... and there started a friendship that has just strengthened over the years. At that time, Theo was in his early 20s, a music student living at home, a classical pianist and almost a world expert on Medieval Harpsichord music. An unlikely candidate to be so inspired by a large lady singer from Cornwall who had died nearly 20 years before. He had discovered Brenda due to his fascination with another powerful 'diva', Mercedes Sosa from Argentina. She and Brenda had collaborated on a tour in France back in the  1980s, and a video on Youtube showed them both in the same TV concert (now viewable on Brenda's Film Channel).

Theo fell in love with Brenda's voice, and ordered everything he could. He also discovered an overwhelming obsession with Cornwall - and consequently we became firm friends and corresponded regularly (and still do)... to the extent that when my partner Chris Hill and I were married in 2016, Theo came over for the wedding and stayed with us for a week. He managed to pop in and see us for a few days the following year, when he got a placement at Oxford University as a visiting student for a month - but despite constant entreaties to the fates and any number of fruitless appeals for sponsors and grants, his longing to come back to Cornwall for good is still unrealised. He's been stymied by Trump, by Tories and by Covid...


In the meantime, he has acquired everything Brenda ever recorded, the books, some film, and her Cornish tartan cloak. He has toured in China, twice, tutoring harpsichord and there finding a Chinese wife, who has returned to America with him - the beautiful Yizhen. He has completed his Master’s Degree at Yale, and performed a debut concert at Carnegie Hall (his mum Liz, knowing of his obsession, had a direct copy of Brenda's silver triskel brooch made for the event). As an exceptionally talented youngster, he was introduced to Barack Obama.




Theo is now 30, and composing accomplished, lyrical pieces on the piano. He is keen to find employment creating background music for films and radio, and is releasing tantalising snippets on his TikTok channel - but sadly, this is not the sort of thing that earns him the right to move to the UK and settle without spending a fortune he doesn't have on VISAs.

 

One day, Theo. Don't give up hope.








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