Baysox to Hold Auditions for National Anthem Singers
The Bowie Baysox are holding open auditions to sing the national anthem at one of their 71 home games this season.
Singing the national anthem in front of a crowd before a professional sporting event is an opportunity that doesn't come around every day, but the Baysox are giving area performers a chance with open auditions next month.
Roughly between 50 and 100 people show up each year to try out, said Tom Sedlack, communications director for the Baysox, in an e-mail.
"Last year we had 66 people audition on a cold, rainy day. The year before on a beautiful Saturday morning, 103 turned out," he said.
There is a live performance of the national anthem before each of the team's home games—there are 71 in the 2011 season—and the Baysox encourage anybody to try out. They accept soloists, small groups, even instrumentalists.
"Anyone who registers and completes the audition satisfactorily without using lyrics and without losing their nerve in front of the audience is added to a waiting list of candidates to perform before a game," said Sedlack.
The performers will be assessed on three main criteria: skill, timeliness and accuracy. It's important for performers to stay within the time frame allotted so that first pitch can leave the pitcher's mound on time.
Once a candidate makes it through the audition process, they are put on a waiting list of potential singers. There are still some people on the waiting list from last year that didn't get a chance, and they will have priority over those auditioning in March. After the wait-listed performers get their shot, it will continue down the line based on availability.
The Baysox will host auditions rain or shine on March 12 at Prince George's Stadium with registration starting at 9 a.m., auditions beginning at 9:30 a.m. and guests can attend for free.
The Baysox rarely book people to sing the national anthem. However, they've booked Joe Price—a professor of religious studies at Whittier College in Whittier, CA—who is attempting to sing the national anthem at more than 100 minor league stadiums this summer as part of a project entitled “The National Anthem for the National Pastime.” Price is set to perform before the game June 24, when the Baysox take on the Binghamton Mets.
The team has never played a recorded version of the song in their 18 seasons, which amount to more than 1,278 home games and performances of "The Star-Spangled Banner."
The 2011 season for the Baysox begins on April 7 on the road in Harrisburg, PA, and they'll play their first home game on April 14 at 7:05 p.m. See the Baysox website for ticket information.