Sunday, May 1, 2011

My Acme

Did I ever tell you about the time I sang in front of 55,000 people?  No?  Well, let me tell you....

Years ago, I used to sing the national anthem at sporting events.  I sang frequently for the SC Stingrays and the Charleston Riverdogs.  It was super stressful, but I always enjoyed doing it.  I never forgot the words.  (although, one time I came real close)

Over the course of these singing gigs, I became friendly with the marketing director of the Stingrays.  She was a young college grad and was seriously as sweet as pie.  After her stint with the Stingrays, she moved on to work for the Cincinnati Bengals.  She was moving up in the world.

Well, she took me along for the ride.  She called me one day back in 1997, frantic that their scheduled singer couldn't do that Sunday's game.  Would I like to sing?  Uh, hello.  Would I like to sing?  But of course!  Who cares that it's in Cincinnati and I'm in South Carolina?!  We'll make it work.  This is an NFL game.  There will be more people at that game than live in my little town.  Oh, and the team they're playing?  My dad was coaching them at the time.  Kismet?

So, I went on the whirlwind of finding something to wear, finding someone to keep Taylor, selecting shoes, makeup, etc.  I can still remember the excitement I felt at the opportunity I was being given.  It's probably good that I didn't have a lot of time to think about it all.  When I think of it now, I do get a little sick to my tummy.

So, off we head for Ohio.  It's an all day trip.  We rehearse at the stadium, and have dinner with my dad when his team arrives in town.  And, then I wake up and it's Sunday.  In a few hours, I put myself out there with all sorts of chances to screw up.  (forgotten words?  trip and fall?  hit a bad note?)  And, really, it meant so much to me to have the chance to impress my dad.  He was not one for compliments or praise.  I wanted to move him to feel proud of me.

It went off without a hitch.  They put my picture on the Jumbotron.  (as one friend said, "your head is the size of a garage door!")  I remembered the words, I hit the notes, and I didn't trip.  I had a 'standing ovation' from those 55,000 people.  Granted, they were already standing when I was singing, but I'm taking it.

I walk off the field, and look for my dad.  Remember, it's kickoff time at this point, so he's "working."  But, I got that precious thumbs up I was looking for.  (literally)  And, really, that was probably the best "singing" moment of my life.  I'm glad he saw me at my best.

If you dare, you can watch it all here.  Forgive the camera work--he was trying to take still photos and run the video camera. 

***I have to give special thanks to Johnny for transferring this from old fashioned VCR to a digital copy.  He's helped me to save and hang on to some very special memories.  Thanks Johnny!***


Grandma K said...

WOW! I am really impressed. I can't imagine performing in front of such a crowd!

You really have something to be proud of. Now I am going back to watch the video.

mel said...

You are amazing, Juju - and you look so much like your dad.

I want you to sing at my next wedding or, if that doesn't happen, at my or the other!

sherri s. said...

OMG OMG OMG--I am MORE than impressed--that was truly truly awesome! You sang that better than 95% of the people I've heard sing the anthem. What a beautiful voice, and so cool under pressure. And so sweet with your dad (brought a little tear to my eye). WoW!!!!!

word: whuca

Whuca, Whuca, can JuJu sing or WHAT! (I might have to start using that phrase, "Whuca whuca")

rmjack said...

That is a great picture of you and your Dad. I love it!

angie128 said...

Oh wow wow wow. My most talented and famous friend.


How awesome is that.

You are something else, you know that?

Robin said...

OMG, tears are streaming down my face!!! You angel! :) Lovely, lovely voice...