The first time I ever sang the Star Spangled Banner as a soloist was at a Little League baseball game in Bellevue.
It think it was the end of the season, perhaps the playoffs, so Terry wanted to do something out of the ordinary. Umpire and friend Dean Riordan recommended me for the task.
I was happy to oblige.
I climbed the rickety wooden “press box” above home plate and got ready to sing. Nervous butterflies danced in my gut, though I was happy that I remembered a printout of the lyrics, which I could sing from without anyone noticing.
After Terry’s introduction, I took the microphone, blew a tone on my new pitch pipe and started singing.
Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
Afterwards, I was relieved to be finished and happy that the song had gone well.
Singing in church has always been my main focus, but this is Nashville, where even waiters dream about singing live for a public audience. I’ve never been interested in singing country music, though I’ve wanted to learn some crooner classics and Irish ballads.
I chose singing the Anthem at sporting events as my public singing niche because I have the vocal range to sing a somewhat difficult song and because I love attending ball parks, especially for baseball games.
My first performance was in the books and I was hopeful for future gigs.