National Anthem Auditions - Dodger Stadium - 3/31/12
Better than...having to listen to me sing the national anthem.
The "Star Spangled Banner" is a notoriously difficult song to sing. Its one and a half octave range of chest-pounding passion has stumped many singers. Nonetheless last Saturday, for the first time ever, the Dodgers held open auditions for a chance to sing the national anthem at a Dodgers exhibition game. Over 500 people showed up.
Baseball has been America's pastime longer than the Star Spangled Banner has been our national anthem. Francis Scott Key's poetic ode to patriotism and explosions was not adopted as America's national anthem until 1931. In 1962 the Dodgers settled into Chavez Ravine and are now entering their 50th season at Dodgers Stadium with a little bit of optimism (thank you, Magic Johnson).
The auditions were held on the field, with a fully illuminated JumboTron and the smell of Dodger dogs wafting through the stadium for maximum effect. A table of judges consisting of several front office Dodgers staff and 1965 Dodgers World Series hero Sweet Lou Johnson sat patiently through each performance.
Anyone who has seen more than ten minutes of any singing competition knows that open auditions can be a very unpredictable event. Thankfully, perhaps due to the location or the sacred material, most of the nuts attended the cross-town auditions for The Voice and almost every person who approached the microphone was at least capable of belting out the challenging standard.
At 9:30 a.m. the auditions got underway with over 175 people having already checked in. Many were dressed in scarves and coats as they fought the persistent drizzle. Local radio personality Manny Streetz served as emcee informing the contestants they were to start from "rockets' red glare" and finish the second half of the anthem.
By 11:30 a.m., only 82 people had approached the microphone.