As I recently noted, I have just bought a new-to-me car for only the third time in my life. The previous one lasted me more than 18 years. Suffice it to say, then, that I am not a car person. My father, however, was – very much.
It’s a little bittersweet, then, to note that I’ve managed to secure a gig singing the national anthem before the Rose Cup Races on Father’s Day. One of my bandmates works for a company that is a sponsor of the races, and he somehow finagled things so that I’m singing the anthem on Sunday, which I think is the day of the main event races. I’m almost equal parts excited and nervous – it’ll be just me, standing in front of a crowd of race fans who are probably eager to get to the whole racing thing, and “The Star Spangled Banner” is a notoriously difficult song to pull off well. It spans more than an octave from top note to bottom, and if you make the mistake of starting out too high (as one friend put it) your “rockets will glare in an unsightly fashion.” I’ve never owned a pitch pipe, but – of course – there’s an app for that. I’m still worried I’ll look like a complete ass holding a phone up to my ear just as they’re asking spectators to remove their hats for the national anthem (“Excuse me, couldja hang on? I gotta take this.“), but I’d rather do that than risk sounding terrible.
The good news is that I know the song – I’ve performed it in choirs for umpteen gazillion years, and I sing it in the stands at every Timbers home game. Now, I just have to pull it off a cappella, solo, outdoors, in front of a crowd. I’ll be thinking of my dad. I’m sure he’d be proud.
And who knows? If this goes well, I’m one step closer to officially singing the anthem before a Timbers game. And wouldn’t that be something?
If you’ll be at the Rose Cup Races on Sunday, June 15th, be on the lookout for me singing the national anthem just before, I think, that whole “start your engines” bit.