• National Anthems

    Singing 4 the Cubs: Daytona Cubs

    Following a year of playing with the Kansas City Monarchs in the Negro Leagues, Jackie Robinson signed a contract with the Brooklyn Dodgers on October 23, 1945 and was assigned to the Dodgers’ AAA affiliate – the Montreal Royals. Five months later, the players in the Brooklyn Dodgers organization reported to the 1946 spring training in Jacksonville, Florida. This was two years before “Dodger Town” in Bradenton, Florida was completed. After a couple weeks of drills and inter-squad games, the major league Dodgers were ready to play a game against Robinson and the Royals. Segregation was still pervasive in Florida and throughout the South at this time. When the day of the…

  • National Anthems,  Press

    On the Air: WNDB-AM

    Daytona, Florida – Prior to singing the National Anthem for the Daytona Cubs, I had the honor of sitting and talking with Marc Bernier on WNDB-AM radio. Click on the arrow above to listen to the interview. My friend Marc is the former husband of my dear friend and high school classmate Melodye Browning Bernier. Since their family lives in the Daytona area, when they heard about my trip to sing in Daytona, Marc invited me to appear on his daily show. [Side note: For many years Melodye taught music to grade schoolers, including future Braves slugger Chipper Jones. She once gave him a B in music. When the class…

  • National Anthems,  Press

    On the Air: KTIK-FM

    Following an unfortunate microphone malfunction when I sang the National Anthem, Todd Rahr, the general manager for the Boise Hawks, invited me to the press box. I had just finished singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame at the seventh inning stretch when Todd said “Hey, come up to press box and I’ll put you on air with our radio announcer. He can interview you between pitches and you can talk about your campaign to sing for all the Cubs’ teams.” “Okay,” I said, “sounds like fun.” So Todd and I walked up to the press box and he introduced me to Mike Safford, voice of the Boise Hawks. Someone…

  • National Anthems

    Singing 4 the Cubs: Boise Hawks

    When I created this Singing 4 the Cubs campaign, I knew it would take a lot of planning. Assuming I can get an invitation to sing at each of the ballparks (and there’s no certainty of that – I only have three confirmed stops on my map), the biggest question is how will I get to those ballparks? Drive? Fly? Singing for the Tennessee Smokies was easy enough; it was just a 3.5 hour drive from our home in southwest Nashville. Singing in the other cities will take more planning, a little luck and a lot of Southwest Airlines points. Still, as I scheduled my flight to sing the National Anthem for the Boise…

  • Working 4 the Cubs

    Working 4 the Cubs: Wells Ford

    One of the benefits of singing for the teams in the Chicago Cubs’ organization is that I get to met some great people who work for these teams. When I sang for the Tennessee Smokies, I met Wells Ford who has sold programs at Smokies Park for nine seasons. Originally from Brooklyn, Wells and I talked about NYC baseball and how the greater New York City area supported three major league teams (Yankees, Dodgers and Giants) until the 1958 season. I’ve been to Brooklyn once, but never got to visit the area where Ebbets Field was located. I’ve never seen a ballgame in New York and would love to visit Yankee…

  • National Anthems

    Singing 4 the Cubs: Tennessee Smokies

    It’s moments before I am introduced as the game’s National Anthem singer and I am standing just off the grass, singing the first lines of the song over and over again. Every so often, I blow the note D3 on my pitch pipe. That’s the D below middle C, my starting note. Today I’m in Sevierville to sing the National Anthem for the Tennessee Smokies, the Double A team in the Chicago Cubs organization. It’s the next stop on my quest to sing the “Star Spangled Banner” for all the teams in the Cubs’ farm system. You see, I love to sing the National Anthem at baseball games. Even more…

  • National Anthems

    More than Just a Song

    The Star Spangled Banner is truly our song. Whenever Americans gather for public and/or important events, the song unites the participants and focuses attention to the beginning. But when you look deeper, you realize that the song about our flag means a whole lot more. When I worked at HCA (Hospital Corporation of America), the company always held an annual fundraising campaign for the United Way. One year we held the kick-off event across the street in Centennial Park and I was asked to start the event with the National Anthem. Since Connor had been the Field Commander for the Father Ryan High School Marching Band, I knew the band…

  • National Anthems

    That Nashville Sound (System)

    My introduction to singing for professional baseball came with the Nashville Sounds, our minor league team with a long history of AA and AAA affiliations. At present they are the AAA Brewers holding down 1st place in the American Southern division of the Pacific Coast League. In recent years the Sounds have held a one-day tryout for everyone interested in singing at a ball game. When I called the front office in mid-season in the late 1990s, they invited me to come out to Greer Stadium one afternoon to audition. Linda and I drove to the park early in the week. It was a day off for the team, so there were…