Tonight was a personal milestone for me. Since November 2010, I have been the national anthem vocalist for Edinboro University athletics. I have covered four different sports (basketball, wrestling, soccer, and volleyball) within three seperate athletic conferences (PSAC, NCAA, and PIAA).
After four years in the making, I sang my 100th anthem tonight. On Veteran’s Day. How fitting.
The anthem is not the easiest song in the world to sing. In fact, it has often been referred to as one of the most difficult songs to sing, memorize, and perform. When you add hundreds of fans staring at you from their bleacher seats, the pressure is on.
I’ve gone on some adventures over the last four years, although I”m proud to say that I’ve never screwed up the words/pulled a Christina Aguilera:
- Sometimes my tonal center goes awry and I change keys in the middle but I always find the original key in the end.
- The microphone adds its own sound effects (“rockets red glare”…*boom*).
- I have sung against a hoarde of bagpipers in the Key of D when I sing in the key of F.
- Battled laryngitis and dropped my original key of Ab to Eb or D (and this is tenor/bass land since I’m an alto).
- Had wind blowing in my face due to the fans being set up in the Fieldhouse.
- Had my pitch pipe knocked under the bleachers with three mintues before tipoff.
- Being out of my comfort zone by facing the audience instead of the flag (probably my worst anthem ever).
- Singing against a warm-up CD that wasn’t turned off (aka Anthem Remix!).
All in all, it has been an amazing four years. I feel SOOOOOO appreciated by our athletic department. I have received numerous compliments by administrators, fans, athletes and coaches for my talents. I am often nicknamed “The Lucky Charm”; I have an uncanny ability to make the teams win whenever I sing (most of the time). It’s true…our women’s basketball team has been to the NCAA Atlantic Regionals every season that I have sang! I haven’t kept a strict count of home wins/losses, but I would estimate 80% of my singing has contributed to wins. I still have all of the 2013-2014 season to go, and the first half of the 2014 season before graduation (possibly spring 2015 if I’m asked to come back).
I am often asked if I get paid, and I do not. I do this for the experience. I am guaranteed awesome references after I graduate. I affectionaly refer to myself the Jeff Jimerson of Edinboro Athletics (he’s the guy who consistently does the anthem for the Pittsburgh Penguins). I would love to move into the professional leagues with my anthem singing. Perhaps a runDisney race? NASCAR? Pirates/Steelers game? The possibilities are endless!