Asheville Tourists hold tryouts for national anthem singers
The 2018 version of the Asheville Tourists will begin its campaign in just two weeks. That means final preparations are being made around McCormick Field to welcome players and fans back to another summer of baseball.
Even though the actual roster is not finalized, the Tourists are creating another list of participants: the national anthem singers.
"We try to stick to local talent," explained Sam Fischer, the team's creative marketing manager. "We're big believers that a ballpark is a place for community gathering."
Around 50 people came out to McCormick Field on Saturday to show off their pipes in hopes of getting a shot to sing the "The Star-Spangled Banner" before one of the Tourists' 72 home games.
"I've sung the anthem as part of a crowd many, many times and usually with a fairly positive response from the people around me," joked Charles Killian, one of the potential performers.
Christy Woppman brought her chorus from Koontz Intermediate School to audition, in addition to allowing each child to perform solo if they wanted.
"I hope that they gain confidence and have special memories that they can take on with them," she said.
Despite the various renditions that pop up before professional games, the singers that step up to the plate in Asheville are asked to keep their versions to a minute and a half or less.
Even though it's a small slice of a visitors experience at McCormick Field, the national anthem is of utmost importance to all involved.
"I believe it sets the tone for the event. It's a great moment for unity," Fischer stated.
"It's a statement of honor to the country," Killian added.
The Asheville Tourists open the season on April 5, 2018, on the road at Delmarva for a four-game set. They open the home slate a week later on April 12 against Columbia.