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Arts & Entertainment + Sports

O, Say Can You Hear

National anthem tryouts at Agganis Arena


On November 2 and 3, more than 60 individuals and groups from the BU community filed into Agganis Arena to audition for a chance to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in front of a captive audience at an upcoming Terrier men’s ice hockey or basketball home game. Only 20 of the coveted spots are available through the end of the season.

“It’s one thing to sing at my little high school. It’s another to sing for BU,” said Erica Krist (CAS’14), one of those trying out.

With clipboard in hand, Jessica Connor, Agganis marketing and promotions manager, took notes as students, parents, alumni, professors, a cappella and choral groups—even a group of schoolchildren—auditioned on the ice. And for every performer, there was the formidable challenge of competing with the arena’s overwhelming echo. 

From harmonizing to the operatic, the auditions revealed an array of styles and variations on the national anthem. Two instrumentalists, on a cello and an electric guitar, auditioned.  

“It’s important to put as much emotion into it as possible while still sounding good,” said Vanessa Salvucci (CAS’05), who sang the national anthem at BU soccer games as a student. 

Many of the hopefuls introduced their own personal touches to the anthem: some closed their eyes, others raised their arms during crescendos. “We can usually tell the CFA students from the other people just by a certain stage presence,” Connor noted.  

After two days of observing the auditions in person, Connor then reviews the performances on tape with her staff to determine who will sing for Terrier fans at Agganis this season.
“So far the talent has been incredible,” says Connor of this year’s competition. “It’s going to be really hard to make a decision. I actually wish we had more games for them to sing at this year.”

You can see the next winner of the national anthem auditions perform at the men’s ice hockey game vs. UNH on Saturday, November 20, at 7 p.m. at Agganis Arena.

Alan Wong can be reached at alanwong@bu.edu.


10 Comments on O, Say Can You Hear

  • Anonymous on 11.15.2010 at 7:31 am

    National Anthem Tryouts

    That was fun to watch. A lot of very good singers. Thanks for not posting the bricks (and making fun of people).

  • Anonymous on 11.15.2010 at 9:23 am

    Play ball!

  • Anonymous on 11.15.2010 at 9:29 am

    Go Jenny Mac!

  • Anonymous on 11.15.2010 at 1:26 pm

    Wanted to see someone forget the words. I know it happened. You’re holding out on us, BU Today.

  • Anonymous on 11.15.2010 at 2:15 pm

    Post the bricks. I want to see the bad ones!

  • Anonymous on 11.15.2010 at 2:59 pm

    Believe me, commenters #4 and #5, I was there for every singer waiting for a little smell of blood, and I have nothing (entertainingly bad) to show for it. Back in 2006, things were different: http://www.bu.edu/buniverse/view/?v=1j2aIVJ -AW

  • Anonymous on 11.15.2010 at 5:35 pm

    I loved them all!

    Why won’t you give each of them (groups and singles) do that in different occasions? You have quite a few events during the year.

  • Anonymous on 11.16.2010 at 9:53 am

    National Anthem Tryouts

    TALENTED! Plain and simple — talented! Wishing everyone the best of luck…and thanks for sharing, BU Today!

  • Anonymous on 11.17.2010 at 5:16 pm

    The girl on the cover

    Has an absolutely amazing voice.

  • Anonymous on 11.17.2010 at 5:18 pm


    who is the girl that sings at 2:13??? she’s AMAZING! everyone did great though good job guys!

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