Singers audition to perform national anthem for Frederick Keys
Baseball team looking for people to perform before games this season
Bill Ryan/The Gazette
Dave Highfield sat patiently on the cushioned Frederick Keys folding chair for his turn in front of the judges.
After a young woman and a man in a button-down shirt and tie belted out "The Star-Spangled Banner," Highfield, No. 57, was up.
Highfield of Westminster put his book down on his chair next to his wife, hummed a little to ready his voice, and walked to the front of the Frederick Keys Café where the three-judge panel was seated Saturday morning.
The judges — who work in sales and marketing for the Frederick Keys — didn't know that Highfield has been singing all of his life in church, community and college choirs. The piece of paper with his name, address and availability didn't reveal these details.
Highfield was one of 98 singers who signed up to audition for a chance to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" at some the minor league baseball team's 70 home games this season. Nearly 70 of those singers showed up Saturday to go through with their auditions.
Katy Fincham, marketing director for the Keys, said she and the other judges were looking to select 30 singers to perform the national anthem throughout the season, which begins April 17.
"There's no specific age we're looking for. We're just looking for that great talent," she said.
The Frederick Keys schedules schools, church choirs and other community groups to sing the national anthem for the remaining home games. Singers have no more than one minute and 30 seconds to perform before the first pitch is thrown.
Fincham noted that they judge singers on three criteria: length of performance, knowledge of lyrics and tone or quality of voice. Singers will find out Friday if they passed the audition.
Saturday was Highfield's first time auditioning for the Frederick Keys. He sang "The Star-Spangled Banner" in a straightforward manner and in a clear, steady voice.
Though he has been singing in the Old Line Statesman choir in Carroll County, Highfield said he hasn't done much solo work. "It's something to stretch me out," he said of the Keys audition.
E-mail Katherine Mullen at firstname.lastname@example.org.