How Can He Keep From Singing? Father Jaykins Steals the Show at Garth Brooks Concert

Author: O'Neil, Alison


In a surprising and unprecedented move, Garth Brooks added a last-minute headliner to his Notre Dame concert: none other than Notre Dame president Fr. JayJay Jaykins, C.S.C. Jaykins took to the stage amidst confused but hopeful cheers, and he did not disappoint. Opening with Here I Am, Lord and launching into classics such as Christ Be Our Lightand On Eagle’s Wings, Jaykins closed the concert with a rousing rendition of Canticle of the Turning. This heartfelt and invigorating hymn, arguably Notre Dame’s second most popular party song after Mr. Brightside, elicited a paroxysm of ecstatic screams and a round of applause that went on for ten minutes.


“I guess I wanted to surprise the students,” Jaykins told Scholastic in a post-concert interview. “People always want to see me in the spotlight. It’s always, ‘Fr. Jaykins, come speak at my event’ and ‘Fr. Jaykins, come shake my hand.’ Well, Garth has given me my chance to shine, and this time I think I’ve really made the student body happy.”


Jaykins’ performance, which went viral after noted influencer and Garth Brooks expert Emma Ferdinandi uploaded a video to her Twitter, has inspired millions across the country. “Everyone’s been asking for my autograph,” Jaykins told Scholastic. “Capitol Records wants to sign me next month. I’ve even been scheduled to appear on David Letterman’s Netflix show!”


Keenan Revue has begun making plans to include Jaykins as a headliner in their February show. “He’s a musical genius,” gushed Notre Dame-based artist Helix Ramito. “He can take my place in the Revue anytime.”


“Booking Jaykins was a solid idea. Everybody lovedhim,” Brooks told Scholastic, with just a tinge of envy in his voice. “I think the students liked my songs all right. They were swaying around with their phone lights on or whatever. But they went absolutely nuts for Canticle of the Turn-Up, or whatever it’s called.” 


Brooks paused, adding sadly, “I guess people here prefer old-timey Catholic hymns to good American country music.”


Despite the ensuing clamor for Jaykins’s autograph, Scholasticwas able to interview several students after the concert. “I dunno, when he walked up with that rickety old guitar, I was expecting him to launch into Wonderwall or something,” said senior Shannon O'Shaughnessy. “But then he just cranked out banger after banger. It was even better than dorm Mass!”


“I mean, it was a little weird at first, seeing the university president come up to sing,” junior Jessica Jameson told Scholastic. “But he did a great job—in fact, I think more students know Canticle of the Turning than literally any Garth Brooks song.”


Students and faculty alike agree that Jaykins’ concert will undoubtedly go down in Notre Dame history not only as the stadium’s first, but also as one of its best. “Much like Garth Brooks, Fr. Jaykins is an American legend,” said sophomore Stanley Smith. “And now he can say he’s a man of the people as well.”