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Singers try for their day with the Suns

March 28, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS

gregs@herald-mail.com

HALFWAY - There was no home plate, and no hot dogs, peanuts or Cracker Jacks on Saturday at Valley Mall.

Instead, there were a lot of nerves, high notes and low notes, and some dreams that came true in the form of 45-second renditions of "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Nearly 100 contestants tried out Saturday to be part of this year's group to sing the national anthem before Hagerstown Suns games at Municipal Stadium.

Holly Goodwyn, 19, of Hagerstown, hoped she would be one of the singers to be chosen. Before her chance to try out, she said she sings in the shower, and sometimes does karaoke. But she had high hopes before she sang Saturday.

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"I love singing. It's a dream," Goodwyn said. "I just had a little boy. Maybe I can make some money. ... It comes naturally. It's just a God-given gift, (so I) might as well (try out)."

Goodwyn's younger sister, Stacey Goodwyn, came along for moral support. Stacey Goodwyn said if it wasn't for her, her older sister probably wouldn't have been there Saturday.

"She said she wasn't gonna do it," the younger Goodwyn said. "I got her back into it."

"I was debating it," Holly Goodwyn said. "If I don't win, I'll still be happy. I'll still be singing."

She was among the chosen singers.

Suns general manager Kurt Landes said 50 singers were chosen and they'll be scheduled to sing before home games throughout the season.

One singer won the right to sing opening day, April 12. That was Shannon Draper of Williamsport, Landes said. Draper also will be invited to sing the anthem on a local radio broadcast.

According to other singers, nerves either were a major concern or no concern at all.

Dawn Crock, 38, of Martinsburg, W.Va., said she was "extremely" nervous before trying out, even though she'd sung professionally with small bands for the past 20 years.

"It's unnerving" to have people grading you while singing, Crock said. She was one of the 50 who was selected.

Before she goes before the crowd, "I'll probably sing ("The Star-Spangled Banner') a lot more," but "I won't have to follow 16 people who sung it before me," Crock said.

Harold James, 77, of Funkstown, was one of the four members of "Just Four Guys," a barbershop quartet that was among the winners Saturday. He said they had been selected for a night last year, and nerves were not a problem this year.

"Been doing this for years," James said.

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