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Philadelphia Radio Disc Jockey Among Voices In Special Papal Choir

By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- The papal mass in Philadelphia will be celebrated with no fewer than four choirs, including one specially selected just for the occasion. Among the 250 voices in the special Papal Choir will be a CBS Radio disc jockey with an unusual story.

WXTU D.J. Brian McKay has a full, rich baritone voice, so it seems like he'd be a shoe-in for the choir. But he wasn't so sure.

"I really didn't know if I was going to make it and I'll be honest with you, I didn't know if it was for me," McKay said, "because we're hearing all these stories about what it's going to be like when the pope does come, rumors of a wall being built around Philadelphia."

But as soon as he got the nod, he was thrilled.

"It's going to be amazing," he said.

The triumph is a little sweeter because McKay was born with a sometimes fatal birth defect. His esophagus was connected to his windpipe instead of his stomach. As an infant, he had surgery on the very pipes that now will fill out the papal choir.

And the doctor who saved his life? Former surgeon general C. Everett Koop, then (in 1965) a surgeon at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

To hear those windpipes now, wouldn't Koop be proud?

You can hear Brian McKay's voice in this CBS Philly podcast:

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