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Dayton Dragons Hold Tryouts... for National Anthem Singers

It might be cold out now, but spring is less than a month away. That means Dayton Dragons baseball is right around the corner. Over the weekend, the team held National Anthem Tryouts at Fairfield Commons Mall. WYSO’s Jason Reynolds was listening…

Deborah Williams is one of over 200 people that came to the mall to sing “The Star Spangled Banner.”

James Wicker and Tom Beery in line to try out. While they didn't know each other before this morning, they struck up a friendship while waiting in line and performed back-to-back.
Credit Jason Reynolds / WYSO
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WYSO
James Wicker and Tom Beery in line to try out. While they didn't know each other before this morning, they struck up a friendship while waiting in line and performed back-to-back.

Williams is from a military family and says that when she sings the National Anthem, she thinks about the sacrifices service men and women make.

“The honor is what sticks in my head because they served our country. They gave their lives for our country, so this is the least I could do,” she says.

This is the 21st year the Dayton Dragons have held open tryouts, and performers come on and off the stage quickly. There are second graders and senior citizens, barber shop quartets and brass bands, and lots of choirs.

Chief Master Sergeant J.R. Erb of the U.S. Air Force is a judge today, too. He says there are two simple requirements for earning one of the 70 slots to sing before a game.

“When you remember the words and you sing in key, life’s good,” Erb says.

Life is good at the ballpark, too. You can hear the grand prize winner sing before the Dayton Dragons’ home opener on April 9.