One of the best things an a cappella group can do is to sing the national anthem at a ball game. Â I don’t care what group you are, what country you are singing for, or what kind of game it is at. Â You could be a high school group at your cousins jai-lai game in Ecuador singing the Ecuadorian national anthem. Â It doesn’t matter. Â And here’s why it’s a good thing for your group to do:
- National Anthems were made to be sung. Â Every national anthem is simple enough to be sung by everyone. That’s part of instilling national pride. Â It is hard to sing a national anthem and sound bad at it. Well, certain notable exceptions (Sorry Ms. Barr) aside.
- They’re short. Â Or at least, the portions you sing at a game are short. Â No one sings all the lyrics. Â So you can focus on perfecting just a small bit of song. Plus, I’d be willing to bet you already know the words and melody.
- The heart of the song is pretty basic. This ties into part one. Â But this means that you as a group have the freedom to innovate, to build on that structure and hang your own style off of it. Â Start with the core that everyone recognizes, but make it your own.
- Sports fans are a great audience. They’re eager, excited, happy, perhaps already a little drunk, and they love their national anthem. It’s a tradition and a hallmark. Â They are at the stadium to cheer someone on, and they will cheer you on with just aas much fervor. Â Plus, because you’re not competing with another team, everyone is cheering for you, not just half the fans.
- You Â get to put yourself and your art out in front of a lot of people that, let’s face it, probably aren’t coming to your concerts. This is marketing gold. Untapped markets that are ready to hear your product. And if you are a high school group singing at a high school game, this is -not- a bad way to get noticed by that team member or cheerleader you might have an eye on…
- You’re only out there for a minute and a half, singing a song you know well, to an audience that is happy to hear you and isn’t listening withÂ judgmentalÂ ears. Â It’s a chance to relax, have fun, and learn to let go of performance jitters. Â Even I can belt out the melody as a soloist at a ball game, and I’ve got pretty bad stage fright when it comes to solos.
Check out this clip here of Firedrill! (yay!) singing the national anthem at a recent Red Sox (yay!) game at Fenway Park.
Do be careful though, there are some big pitfalls if you’re not careful. Â Don’t sing for more than about a minute and a half. Â The audience isn’t there to see a concert. Â Actually, I know for a fact that they don’t want you to sing longer than that at major venues like Fenway. Â Also, don’t get so crazy with your arrangement that you lose the audience. Key to this is keeping the well known melody front and center. Â Be as jazzy as you like, but don’t depart too much from that. Â Also be careful changing the familiar tempo too much. Â Remember, everyone in the stands knows this part of the song really well, and getting too far away from it will make them uncomfortable.