Impromptu anthem says something about kids

Sometimes high school kids do things that make me think that the future is in pretty good hands, after all.
One of them came at the start of the New Richmond-Hudson boys hockey game on Tuesday. Everyone stood for the playing of the national anthem. After an awkward silence of 15 seconds or more, it was announced that the recorded version of the anthem wasn’t working, so the officials should start the game.
The New Richmond student section apparently really wanted an anthem. The first few words came out of the stands like a murmur. By the second line, nearly all of the student section, plus many more fans, were belting out the national anthem. Musically, it might not have been a perfect rendition, but that’s what made it special. This wasn’t choir students, it was a cross section of the student body, of all musical talents. Some were having fun with it, some were taking it seriously. Their voices blended together to fill the New Richmond Sports Center with a sound that was completely unrehearsed and quite special.
This was the second time I’ve been made proud in recent weeks by high school students doing impromptu singing of the National Anthem. The first was at the WIAA state football championships.
Somerset and Wrightstown were getting ready to play the Division 4 state title game and the Wrightstown High School band took the field to perform the anthem.
Standing on the Somerset sidelines, the first sounds that could be heard were from the Wrightstown band. After the first few notes, the Wrightstown band was being drowned out by the Somerset student section, which was quite seriously and solemnly singing the anthem.
Through decades of covering high school sports, I’m guessing that I’ve heard thousands of versions of “The Star Spangled Banner.” There have been some wonderful and memorable renditions. They’ve ranged from string quartets performing in New Richmond to the Somerset volleyball team singing the anthem as a team.
Some of the performances that have impressed me most are when individual students perform in front of their school mates. In groups, a slip of the lyrics or the clanking of a note can be covered by the voices of the other singers. But to be out there alone, that takes heaps of courage. And I will bet that you hear fewer lyrical slip ups from high school singers than you will from high priced entertainers who are getting paid tons of money to perform.
All this leads to a point. I am amazed at the respect shown by current high school students toward the national anthem. It seems that teenagers are grasping the fact that this is a difficult time in United States history and that taking the national anthem seriously is a way they can show their pride in their country.

One thought on “Impromptu anthem says something about kids

  1. I attended an invitational gymnastics meet in Rice Lake two weeks ago which was preceded by the national anthem and prayer. The gymnasium was filled with everyone — athletes, families, officials, spectators — standing with hands over hearts, caps off, looking respectfully at the flag — no talking.

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