Nashville Predators are in the hunt for a new anthem singer. Finalists will audition in front of Middle Tennessee celebrities on Thursday, August 24.
After a bad break-up experience, the Nashville Predators are auditioning for a new singer to perform the National Anthem before home games. After opening rounds of auditions and applications, eleven finalist will try their luck in front of celebrity judges.
In a place called “Music City,” finding the right voice is paramount. But, why is the Star Spangled Banner even performed before sporting events? Let’s talk about the history of America’s song.
When studying the history of the National Anthem, one must start at the beginning-September 14, 1814. The United States had been fighting the British military for the second time on US soil. However, it was the first time as a (newly) independent nation. It was the War of 1812.
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In short, the cause of the war was the United States wanted to trade with France, but the British did not want them to. The British were fighting the French during the Napoleonic Wars. America, being ‘Merica, wanted to do whatever they wanted. The Brits did not fancy that. Thus, the start of the War of 1812 (as it was to be remembered). Fast-forward to September 14, 1814, and the British were impaling Fort McHenry from the Baltimore Harbor. Enter, Francis Scott Key.
On a presidential mission, Key was aboard a boat in the Harbor where he witnessed the bombardment. Through all of the explosions and smoke, he could still see Old Glory waving proudly above Fort McHenry. As an amateur poet, Key penned what he saw into a poem. He titled it “Defence of Fort M’Henry.” It was later put to song, and the eventual national anthem of the United States was formed.
Here is an interesting bit of trivia: the actual music is from a popular British song at the time, called “To Anacreon in Heaven,” and was the theme for a gentlemen’s club. Popular music at the time was heard most commonly at the bar. Thus, the National Anthem is essentially a bar-song.
The United States Navy officially first used the song as we know it now in 1883.
History of the anthem in sports
Any Red Sox or Cubs fans reading this? I hate you. Okay, I don’t hate you. I just loathe you. I am the son of a native New Yorker. Go Yankees! Also, I am married to an pre-2016 avid Cubs fan. I don’t despise you as much as Red Sox fans, but y’all just won the World Series, so whatever. However, as recipient of a degree in History, I acquiesce. The Red Sox and the Cubs, along with the Yankees, have an incredible storied past. Take a look at any memorable moment in baseball history. The odds are those teams were probably a part of it. As is the case we have here. The first documented case of the national anthem at a sporting event was in 1918. September 6, 1918, to be exact.
It was Game One of the World Series between the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs. It took a Great War for this example of patriotism to transplant itself into our sporting culture. The United States had entered World War I a mere year and five months before this game. The country was torn apart. Mothers and Fathers had lost their sons. Siblings had lost their brothers. Even baseball lost some of its brightest stars such as Eddie Collins and Grover Alexander. Yet, more than ever, the United Stats was truly united. And what better way to come together than to enjoy America’s pastime.
So, the game went on. Now, it should be noted here the overall mood of the country was in fact sad. However, on that September day in 1918, during the infamous seventh inning stretch, a military band struck the keys (pun intended) to “The Star-Spangled Banner” and the crowd stood united in song. The game was ultimately a not-so-nail-biting 1-0 shutout for Babe Ruth in his last postseason with the Red Sox. A tradition was born.
Over time, “The Star-Spangled Banner” would become a staple in not only baseball, but all American sports. A second World War would lend a hand in making it a mainstay, of course. In 1931, “The Star-Spangled Banner” officially would become our nation’s anthem. We are the home of the brave, after-all.
The Nashville Predators and the national anthem
The Nashville Predators have been in the National Hockey League since 1998. This season is being commemorated as the 20th season. They get a special patch for that. An oddly looking patch at that. But, that’s neither here nor there. Nashville is home to a multitude of talented musicians. However, for the last 17 years the Predators have had one mainstay on the ice before games: Dennis K. Morgan.
Dennis has flexed his vocal chords at countless games. The fans have always sung right along. Never a problem. That was until this past postseason. The wrong chords were struck. With Nashville in the spotlight, the Predators decided to flex their own muscle. The Predators ran a different celebrity out to sing the anthem before every home game. It was great. It became a game for everyone to play. Who was going to sing the anthem? How would they top the last? The fans loved it. The media loved it. Dennis K., not so much. Mr. Morgan made his opinion known.
Unfortunately for him, the Predators were willing to move on.
The Nashville Predators are on the lookout for a new anthem singer for the upcoming season. They hope to flex their muscle once more. If you would like to get a preview of what you might be hearing this year, head to Bridgestone Arena this Thursday. The Predators will be hosting their annual Open House. They will also be hosting the auditions of the final 11 candidates to be the next anthem singer of the Predators. You can find all of the details on the Predators website.
Whatever the result comes to be, I can’t wait to be singing along with them. Is it October yet?