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O-o, say can you sing?

March 20, 2005|by CANDICE BOSELY

martinsburg@herald-mail.com

HALFWAY - Some of those who performed the national anthem Saturday sang the wrong words or stumbled over the lyrics and lost their place, creating an awkward silence.

One performer didn't sing a single word, but still managed to woo the crowd.

Melissa Lloyd, a senior at North Hagerstown High School, played the anthem on her trumpet. After she finished and walked off the stage, a man whispered "outstanding" to her as she passed him. A woman applauded and commented to her companion, "That one I loved."

Lloyd was among 64 people who performed the anthem, but was the only one who did not sing it. Around 40 people likely will be selected to perform at a Hagerstown Suns home game, an employee with the team said.

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The tryouts were held in the food court at Valley Mall.

Performers ranged in age from 7 to 60, said WAYZ disc jockey Dave Carmichael, who emceed.

Danielle Gaines, 13, of Hagerstown, has sung the anthem twice at Suns games. She said she's more nervous during the tryouts than at the baseball game because she has more confidence in her ability by then.

"I'm still shaking, but I try to sing my best," Gaines said after her performance.

Lloyd - the trumpeter - said she has not auditioned before for a Suns game, but thought she would give it a try.

"It's something different. I just think it would be a fun thing to do," said Lloyd, 17, who recently was named a member of the Maryland All-State Band.

"I have a talent, so I'm going to share it obviously, but I'm not looking to go pro anytime soon," she said.

Colin Banks, a fifth-grader at Orchard View Intermediate School in Berkeley County, W.Va., was accompanied by his mother and his music teacher.

"I enjoy singing and I like to sing in front of people," he said.

Banks, 11, stood confidently in front of the judges as he sang, one hand casually in his pocket.

"He did great. I'm very proud of him," said Melissa Crowley, Banks' music teacher. She said Colin is easy to work with and has a clear voice.

For Banks, singing the national anthem in the morning might have been a chance to warm up his vocal chords. About four hours after he sang, he had another performance with his school's show choir.

If Banks, a baseball fan, is chosen to perform, he should be happy to hear that performers and their families receive free tickets to the game at which they sing, Suns General Manager Kurt Landes said.

The Suns have 70 home games, the first being their season opener on April 7. Tickets for games go on sale Monday.

"It's always fun to see everyone try out, especially - I'm not a judge - but the kids," Landes said after the tryouts ended. "They may not sound as good, but they're just as popular."

Unlike in past years, this year more children than adults seemed to perform, Landes said.

He said the younger performers very well could find themselves singing on the baseball diamond.

"They have just as fair a shot as anyone else," he said, adding that 40 to 50 performers from the tryouts will be asked to perform at a game.

Three judges evaluated the performers, scoring them for sound quality, accuracy and stage presence.

Hundreds of other unofficial judges - those eating lunch at the food court - had their own methods to gauge the performances. Some performances garnered loud applause or even cheers, while at least one singer received little more than a smattering of light hand claps.

Those who did not already know the lyrics to the anthem should have learned by the time they finished eating.

Carmichael laughed when asked whether he was tired of hearing the song, after listening to it more than 60 times.

"You can never hear the national anthem enough. Isn't that the politically correct answer?" he said.

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