Tonight I went to the St. Charles Family Arena to a Missouri River Otter hockey game. It was Christian Family Night, so our church had quite a few people there, including our Singles Sunday School group. Big deal, I'm sure you're thinking.
Yep. You see, I was asked to sing the National Anthem. I sang the Anthem two years ago for Christian Family Night at the River City Rascals baseball game. So I was asked 2 days ago to sing it again. Naturally, I accepted.
The announcer came on and instructed everyone to stand and remove their caps, and then introduced me. I waited 3 seconds for eveyone to get settled, then I began. (Now I wasn't sure how long the delay might be, or what the echo might sound like, so i was ready for almost anything.) Almost...
I got through the first phrase and realized that I didn't hear myself at all, let alone an echo. So I stopped, and waited 5 seconds to start again. Again I reached the beginning of the second phrase and figured I had better stop before going any further. I checked the microphone to make sure there was a kill switch on it (there wasn't), and I checked to verify that the cord was securely attached (it was).
At this point, the players from the visiting team (who were only 15 feet away), and the fans immediately next to me began casting glares my way. I could tell by the expressions on their faces that they were thinking that either I was scared silent or that I had forgotten the words. I stepped back for a few seconds more, then started again. This time, right after the word "can" the mic turned on. The delay was very short (much shorter than at the ballpark) and I think they had me cranked in the system (because I thought it sounded loud). The rest of the song was pretty uneventful, and I hit the notes without much difficulty at the end.
It's always fun to see and hear people and their reaction to me when I sing anywhere. I suppose it's due to the way I look that people assume that if I do any singing at all, it is probably screaming heavy metal. So people always sound suprised and shocked that I sounded fairly decent. It's a fun moment to catch people in.
The National Anthem is a tricky song to pull off. If you start just a little too low, you will never hit the low notes a few phrases in. If you start a bit too high, you'll never hit the ending. And since both times I've sung it have been a capella, my beginning is critical. The first time I started a note too low, but made it through. Tonight I started perhaps a half step too low, but that's okay. I'd rather err on the low end than the high end. Nobody wants to hear my straining and screaming for those notes.
Another good time singing in front of a couple thousand people...