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Mall is home of the brave during Suns anthem tryouts

March 19, 2006|By CANDICE BOSELY

Halfway

She might only be 8 years old, but Hannah Brown is hoping to go places. Specifically, to Municipal Stadium to sing the national anthem before a Hagerstown Suns baseball game.

Hannah was one of 70 people who signed up to sing Saturday morning at Valley Mall before a panel of three judges. The best singers - judged on sound quality, accuracy and stage presence - will be asked to sing the anthem before a home game this season.

"I've always wanted to do it and it's been my dream," Hannah said after her performance.

And if she's chosen?

"Probably I'd be nervous and happy that I won," said Hannah, who sang the song confidently and who knew all the words.

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Her father, Don Brown, captured the performance with a video camera and her mother, Sarah Brown, gave the performance a thumbs-up.

"I thought she did great. I had tears in my eyes," Sarah Brown said. "It's neat to see your kid have an aspiration like that at such a young age and see her pull it off."

The Brown family is from Smithsburg.

The auditions were held on a stage set up in the mall's food court. Those who wanted to sing were better off not acting on spontaneity unless it was paired with confidence.

Some singers lost their place or forgot the lyrics, causing an awkward pause. Others sang in the key of monotony.

Many of the singers were children and most were girls or women.

Tracey Elsaesser, 12, and Brittany Diamond, 11, sang as a duet and wore matching outfits.

They already had the same skirt so they decided to buy the same shirt to wear for the performance.

"We'd have someone up there so we wouldn't be as nervous," Tracey gave as the reason the friends decided to sing together. "I did it by myself last year and I was nervous."

"It would be cool," Brittany added as her reason.

Both girls, students at James Buchanan Middle School in Mercersburg, Pa., said they've been singing since they were 2 years old.

Tracey, who wasn't selected last year to sing at a game, predicted the duo's nerves would settle down should the honor be bestowed on them this time around.

"Knowing that we got it, we wouldn't be as nervous," she said.

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