Because the Calvary Chapel Theatrical Choir from Vineland, New Jersey, was scheduled to sing the National Anthem at the Phillies game on September 20 – Vineland Night – when our hometown would be saluted on the big screen in a video. Representing our hometown, our choir would salute our nation in the traditional game opening ceremony!
We wore matching Phillies’ shirts with blue jeans, and car pooled to preferred parking just outside the ballpark entrance – a bit of a discount on the regular steep parking fee, too! Ours was the evening game, so there was something of a wait while the park was readied after the afternoon game of a double header.
To pass the time, of course, there was plenty of mugging for the camera!
Ed had bought a ticket to the game for his best buddy – Sam’s birthday – so, he met us there.
Our own Pastor Frank and friend, Rich, are pretty excited . . .
We even brought our own cameraman – Phil – to shoot a video of the whole experience. He’s our video producer at church for all our shows and service broadcasts. Give him a day or two and if you click the link HERE you’ll be able to see his film of our adventure online!
Finally, our group was called to follow an escort down a special entrance tunnel . . .
Deeper into the Phillies Underground we went . . .
Catching a glimpse of the field . . .
Deeper in and around corners . . .
Past the Phillies Locker Room entrance . . .
Down a narrow hallway . . .
And, into a special locker room for our use!
Here, more mugging for facebook fodder . . .
Until our choir director, Danny, lined us up, everyone showing just a twinge of tension and anticipation at the thought of singing live for 43,000 fans in the park plus a national television audience broadcasting on the MLB Network!!
Danny brought taped warm-up exercises to get our voices ready – and a run-thru or two of the song – pretty tight in that small room!
Time was getting short! The ladies made sure every hair was in place and lips were well glossed!
An escort came to the door – “It’s time!” And, out into the hallway once again – this time, to the field entrance!
Lining up . . .
It was exciting to be sharing this experience with both my husband, the tall fellow to the right with the moustache . . .
And my daughter, Bethany – the two of us pictured here lining up with the sopranos.
We were ushered onto the field to take our place in front of some microphones. The moment we’d looked forward to was finally here! Wow! This place was BIG!!!
What’s this? From behind, the Philly Phanatic mascot fellow – quite a hoot entertaining at all the games – drove up on his Phanatic Mobile and jumped right into the middle of the altos!
He made it clear to Danny that he wanted a crack at directing us for a minute – Danny graciously bowed to this towering green bit of mayhem!
Philly Phanatic lifted his arms and directed us up and down the scale with finesse! Then, just as quickly as he’d come – he was gone!
But, not for long! He’d hopped back on his scooter and drove around behind Danny who’d been trying to settle us. All was now lost, as our entertaining green friend grabbed Danny’s bald head and began spit shining it . . .
The moment was broadcast on the big screen, too!
Soon, all was hushed as a voice over the loudspeaker called everyone to a moment of national reverence, and all the attention was directed to our choir on the field . . .
A perfect pitch opening note and the familiar strains of, “Oh, say, can you see . . .” echoed throughout the park!
The camera capturing it for the big screen panned our group (see me just behind the right microphone), and caught a bit of Danny directing (he’s very entertaining to watch, by the way) . . .
And, zoomed in for a nice close-up! Why – that’s Bethany, with me just in front!
“And, the home – of the – brave!” Thunderous applause! It was done! A great job and a great time!
Filing back to grab our gear, we took a moment to pose with our hometown newspaper in the locker room for a special feature the paper runs each week . . .
Then, found our place in the stands. That’s Ed in the middle wearing the white Phillies shirt and binoculars hanging around his neck, pointing directly into the camera . . .
Ate every wrong thing on my diet list – two hotdogs, a soft pretzel AND a vanilla waffle cone with sprinkles. No, I did not photograph that intestinal disaster. After eats, we took one last photo to say – “We were there!” Here’s Ed and I with Sam, again, towards the end of – I am sorry to say – a losing game. Phillies lost both games that day.
No matter. We just sang the Star Spangled Banner at Citizen’s Bank Park in Philadelphia for a Phillies game and we all felt like World Series Winners!
So . . . um . . . can we do this again next year?
Note: Special thanks to Pastor Frank for uploading his pictures of the event on facebook early today so I could grab the big screen and stands photos for this post. Thanks, Frank!