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Tryout to win chance to sing National Anthem at Blues game

Have you ever dreamed of singing the National Anthem in front of a crowd of as many as 18,400 fans [a full house] at a St. Louis Blues game? Now’s your chance.

The Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues [that never gets old] and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra [SLSO] are calling for soloists, vocal performance groups, instrumentalists and small instrumental groups to audition for a chance to win a one-night National Anthem performance prior to a Blues game during the 2019/2020 season. To be considered for an audition, performers must submit an online video entry at stlouisblues.com [or http://bit.ly/32MPxhd] before noon on Friday, Aug. 16.

Charles Glenn [St. Louis Blues photo]

Finalists will be invited to an in-person audition at Powell Hall to perform live in front of a panel of judges, including long-time National Anthem singer Charles Glenn; Kevin McBeth, who directs the St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus; St. Louis native Kennedy Holmes, who finished fourth on Season 15 of The Voice; James Bertels, a winner in the inaugural contest; and an SLSO musician.

“They’re a great team,” Glenn said about the contest collaboration between the Blues and SLSO, which is now in its third year.

Glenn, who announced his retirement last January as the full-time National Anthem performer for the Blues, went out with a bang as his beloved team brought home the Stanley Cup. After 19 years of performing in front of fans, he has some advice for National Anthem hopefuls.

“We’ve had violinists, we had a brass quartet, we had a saxophone quartet – the variations of people who have tried out for this opportunity over the past three years have been great. A lot of variety,” Glenn said. The key he said is presenting it well.

As a performer and as an instructor at Missouri Baptist University, Glenn has the experience to back up his advice, which is: “Focus on the Anthem, focus on your minute and 30 seconds, and focus on your key because it’s not an easy song to perform.”

“If you’re singing the Anthem, the range is really wide. You can’t start too low or too high because there’s no turning back,” he said. He suggested that singers audition either with the Anthem or a song that showcases their vocal range – and he says creative renditions of the Anthem can be good “if they are done correctly.”

“It can’t be over seasoned, let’s put it that way,” Glenn said. “I add a little flair to it but not to the point that you don’t recognize the song. If you put too much flavor on it, audiences won’t recognize the song and then, you’re missing the whole point of singing the National Anthem. An anthem is for everyone to sing together, so it should be performed in a way that it’s pretty easy to follow.”

Last year, Matt Pentecost, 34, a music teacher in the Maplewood-Richmond Heights School District, was named the contest winner.

For additional information and to submit an online entry, visit stlouisblues.com.

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