On September 4, 1814 Baltimore attorney-turned prisoner exchange agent Francis Scott Key watched from a the British ship HMS Minden as English ships bombarded the city of Baltimore and Fort McHenry. After a long, rainy, terrifying night, the fort held and triumphantly raised a large American flag (which at the time had 15 stars and 15 stripes), a sight that so moved Key that he penned a poem called “Defence of Fort McHenry.” Key’s brother-in-law took the poem and set it to the music of “The Anacreontic Song,” composed by John Stafford Smith, which was the official song of the Anacreontic Society, an 18th-century club of amateur musicians in London. The poem and accompanying tune was then taken to a Baltimore printer, who produced broadsheets that were quickly picked up and reprinted by the city’s two newspapers. The Star-Spangled Banner was born.
In 1918, the tune was played at the World Series, inextricably linking it the national pastime forever.
Key no doubt would have been delighted about the treatment his poem received last Saturday at Isotopes Park, as 125 singers came out to audition to perform the National Anthem at a ‘Topes game this season. It was the largest turnout in the seven-year history of the event and testament to the excitement around Albuquerque for the upcoming baseball season, the Isotopes’ first as Triple-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
If you were one of the brave singers that auditioned, thanks for your patience and participation. A huge thanks also to our great panel of local celebrity judges; Jaimey B. from 100.3 The Peak, Tony Lynn, Myles, and Nikki from Big-I 107.9, Antoinette Antonio from KOB-TV 4, and David Jubb from 610 The Sports Animal. Lauren Farris from the Isotopes staff organized everything and did a great job, as usual.
If you didn’t get a chance to audition and still want to sing at Isotopes Park, don’t fret. Simply drop off a CD or video of you or your group performing the anthem at the Isotopes administrative offices located on the second floor of the ballpark.
On the field, the Isotopes will play their first exhibition game this Friday, March 20 against the Columbus Clippers (Triple-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians) and Opening Day is right around the corner, April 9!