Star-spangled singers needed for national anthem auditions
By Cooper Nelson
GCU News Bureau
Calling all tenors, altos, baritones, trumpeters and guitarists. It’s almost time for the 2015-16 national anthem open auditions, and Grand Canyon University wants you.
The fifth annual event is scheduled for 5-7 p.m. Sept. 15 in GCU Arena, where talented singers and musicians will be selected to sing — or play — renditions of Francis Scott Key’s “The Star-Spangled Banner” at home baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s soccer games. Participants are asked to park in the Camelback Garage at the 33rd Avenue entrance and check in at the Arena lobby by 4:45 p.m. Please dress professionally and come prepared to share information about yourself. You may leave after you’re finished singing, and those selected will be informed within a week.
For interested people, there are a few requirements to audition. You must have sung the national anthem at a prior venue or have vocal training or public singing experience. The national anthem must be memorized (remember, it’s “O’er the ramparts we watched”). Don’t worry, you won’t have to sing the full anthem, but you will be required to know it in its entirety. And finally, you must sing a cappella unless you’re playing the anthem on an instrument.
Taylor Griffin, GCU’s game operations coordinator, judged last year’s auditions and has a few tips for anthem hopefuls who want to nail singing “bombs bursting in air” and not bomb.
“Things we are looking for are people who are outgoing, dress professionally and have the voice or ability to captivate us,” he said. “If you can hold a note, remember the lyrics and sing at a professional level, we’ll like what you do.”
Those interested should email their full name, phone number and if they will sing or play an instrument to [email protected].
Sophomore Danielle Turnbull enjoyed the audition experience last year and will return again this fall. The 19-year-old pre-med major was selected to sing at a women’s basketball game but had to miss it because of scheduling conflicts. She described the auditions as being similar to “American Idol.”
Turnbell sang in her church choir in high school and has belted out songs (but not the national anthem) at a few campus Java Jams. She hopes to continue her passion for singing in GCU Arena this year.
“I have sung since I was little, and I don’t want to give that up,” she said. “GCU basketball is a huge deal here, and the national anthem gets people pumped and ready. You set the stage for the energy in the Arena. To me, that’s a huge honor.”
Those selected should be prepared to sing in front of large crowds. So if you have stage fright, you probably should stay home. Also, be prepared to be yourself. The judges are looking for charisma on top of good pipes and for people who want to represent GCU.
Oh, and one other thing, according to Griffin: Those who don’t bleed purple need not apply.
“We have a 7,000-seat Arena that’s filled for every game, and our teams get national recognition. The entertainment here is big, and we want to bring the best show possible and that starts with the anthem,” he said. “We need people with the same energy and power that we bring to games.”
Contact Cooper Nelson at 602.639.7511 or [email protected].