Oh, Say Can You Sing for the Phoenix Suns? The Phoenix Suns held open auditions for singing fans to perform the national anthem at a game next season. Rene Gutel of member station KXJZ went to the auditions and has this report.
NPR logo

Oh, Say Can You Sing for the Phoenix Suns?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/6219877/6219878" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Oh, Say Can You Sing for the Phoenix Suns?

Oh, Say Can You Sing for the Phoenix Suns?

Oh, Say Can You Sing for the Phoenix Suns?

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/6219877/6219878" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

The Phoenix Suns held open auditions for singing fans to perform the national anthem at a game next season. Rene Gutel of member station KXJZ went to the auditions and has this report.

(Soundbite of "The Star Spangled Banner")

Ms. WHITNEY HOUSTON (Singer): (Singing) Oh say can you see, by the dawn's early light, what so proudly we hail as the twilight's last gleaming.

ANDREA SEABROOK, host:

It takes a Whitney Houston to make The Star Spangled Banner sound good. But the Phoenix Suns basketball team hopes local talent can sweeten the sound before home games this season. The team held open tryouts last month to recruit singers from their fan base. Rene Gutel of member station KJZZ went to the tryouts and sent us this postcard. One cautionary note though: not everyone sings like Whitney Houston. Although some pretty good singers did show up for the auditions.

(Soundbite of "The Star Spangled Banner")

Ms. RITA KURTZ(ph): (Singing) Oh say can you see, by the dawn's early light.

RENE GUTEL: It was kind of like an episode of American Idol, patriot style. Some singers, like Rita Kurtz of Scottsdale, had sung the anthem at other sporting events and had a leg up at the competition.

(Soundbite of "The Star Spangled Banner")

Ms. KURTZ: (Singing) ...last gleaming.

(Soundbite of "The Star Spangled Banner")

Ms. DAWN McCLURE(ph): (Singing) Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous...

GUTEL: While others, like Dawn McClure, struggled to hit the right notes.

(Soundbite of "The Star Spangled Banner")

Ms. McCLURE: (Singing) Over the ramparts we watched were so gallantly...

GUTEL: Nearly 300 people gallantly braved the auditions, and everyone seemed to have a strategy for attempting those high notes.

(Soundbite of "The Star Spangled Banner")

Mr. JOHN MONTGOMERY(ph): (Singing) Were so gallantly streaming...

GUTEL: John Montgomery said his was finding the right key for his voice. The challenge for him was reigning in the bravado.

(Soundbite of "The Star Spangled Banner")

Mr. MONTGOMERY: (Singing) And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night...

GUTEL: The auditions lasted 12 hours, and the panel of judges was patient, managing smiles and encouraging words for rendition after star-spangled rendition, even when singers like John Cheesen(ph) stumbled over the lyrics.

(Soundbite of "The Star Spangled Banner")

Mr. JOHN CHEESEN: (Singing) Oh say that - I forgot - star-spangled...

GUTEL: Ten-year-old Colton Krause(ph) said trying out just seemed like a fun idea. He said he had to memorize 20 new words to learn the song.

(Soundbite of "The Star Spangled Banner")

Mr. COLTON KRAUSE: (Singing) And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air...

Mr. RICHARD AVADURIAN(ph): (Singing) Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.

GUTEL: Some, like Army veteran Richard Avadurian, took the auditions very seriously. He said his tip for a successful anthem was proper breathing and loving the song.

Mr. AVADURIAN: I just think that people should sing the national anthem as it is written, because whenever I sing it and come off the floor, whether it's at a game or a civic event, people say that's the way it should be sung, not crooned.

(Soundbite of "The Star Spangled Banner")

Ms. HOUSTON: (Singing) Land of the free...

GUTEL: For NPR News, I'm Rene Gutel in Phoenix.

(Soundbite of "The Star Spangled Banner")

Ms. HOUSTON: (Singing) ...and the home of the brave.

(Soundbite of applause)

Copyright © 2006 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.