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National Anthem
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The Pulse: National Anthem

The Pulse is a quick trip around sports asking Game Operations personnel a topical question regarding their production or event. We then bulk the answers together in an effort to showcase what's happening around the country at different levels and in different sports.

National Anthem Pulse

Teams discuss how they approach the National Anthem, including song selection, standard procedure, league rules and singer selection.

Thanks to our Game Operations Professionals for their time and insight.

Tony Dufek
River City Lancers Hockey Club

Gameops.com: Do you use pyrotechnics, dim the lights, use spotlights, or other special effect enhancements?

Dufek: The Lancers dim the lights, use spotlights to showcase the singer and we put the singer on the video board along with an American flag blowing in the wind.

Gameops.com: Do you ever tie in the performance of the national anthem with ticket sales (groups who sell tickets perform, like a high school choir)?

Dufek: Yes, we try and get surrounding communities to come out to the game and give them a chance to sing the anthem.

Gameops.com: Do you hold an audition for all interested singers prior to the season?

Dufek: We just ask for audio tapes.

Gameops.com: Do you sound check prior to the game?

Dufek: Yes.

Gameops.com: Do you ever use alternate songs like America the Beautiful in lieu of the national anthem (why or why not)?

Dufek: Yes, because we have a rival team named the Stars and their fans like to yell Stars to coincide with the national anthem.

Gameops.com: Do you have a back-up plan if your anthem singer no-shows?

Dufek: We do have a back up loaded in our system.

Gameops.com: When performing the anthem, can your singer see the words on a matrix or scoreboard?

Dufek: No, we do not have the words on the video board.

De Borah Wells
Chicago Bulls

Gameops.com: Briefly describe your presentation of the national anthem.

Wells: The Chicago Bulls' National Anthem presentation includes a Color Guard ceremony along with the singing/performance of the Star Spangled Banner.



Gameops.com: Do you use pyrotechnics, dim the lights, use spotlights, or other special effect enhancements?

Wells: The Bulls go lights-out for the National Anthem presentation. Spotlights are used for the flag, performer and the Color Guard unit. Stars and flag gobo images are projected onto the court. Patriotic images are scrolled through waving flag images on the LED Ribbon Boards. Waving flag images are displayed along with the names of the performers and the Color Guard Unit. The video board pans the flag, performer, color guard, and players faces during the presentation. The building flag waves when the performer reaches the part of the song referencing the waving of the Banner. Pyrotechnics are not used during the National Anthem presentation because they are used in the player intros.

Gameops.com: Do you ever tie in the performance of the national anthem with ticket sales (groups who sell tickets perform, like a high school choir)?

Wells: No.

Gameops.com: Do you hold an audition for all interested singers prior to the season?

Wells: The Bulls put heavy emphasis high quality in all aspects of our game presentation. To help guarantee that the National Anthem performances meet that standard, we select members of the Lyric Opera Chicago to sing the Anthem. We have done this for three seasons and have enjoyed the arrangement. While a few exceptions have been made throughout the years, we do not plan to make this opportunity open to the public.

Gameops.com: Do you sound check prior to the game?

Wells: No.

Gameops.com: Do you ever use alternate songs like America the Beautiful in lieu of the national anthem (why or why not)?

Wells: We have, during special presentations, included the performance of "God Bless America," but it was not sung in lieu of the Star Spangled Banner.

Gameops.com: Do you have a back-up plan if your anthem singer no-shows?

Wells: In the event of a no-show we have several recorded versions of the National Anthem.

Gameops.com: When performing the anthem, can your singer see the words on a matrix or scoreboard?

Wells: No.

Todd Bosma
Portland Trail Blazers

Gameops.com: Briefly describe your presentation of the national anthem.

Bosma: Blow-off happens, we welcome everyone to arena. Then we go "Half House" or boxing lighting when we introduce the group doing the color guard for that night. While being spot-lit, they walk from the baseline to center court, they turn to face our PA Announcer and walk a third onto the court. Then we announce our National Anthem Performer - We give name and where they are from. They start on the sideline in front of our PA Announcer and walk a third out into the court facing the Color Guard. They sing then the lights come back up.

Gameops.com: Do you use pyrotechnics, dim the lights, use spotlights, or other special effect enhancements?

Bosma: We go half-house during the entire thing, we use spotlights and we use our Gobo lights under our scoreboard to shine red, white and blue stars on the court while they are singing. We feel that it adds to the drama of the song as well as highlight our performer for that night.

Gameops.com: Do you ever tie in the performance of the national anthem with ticket sales (groups who sell tickets perform, like a high school choir)?

Bosma: At times, but it is rare. If we do this, we need to hear the group (they send in a tape) before we agree to it.

Gameops.com: Do you hold an audition for all interested singers prior to the season?

Bosma: Yes we do - It is a day of Hell - It is usually in September. We actually used to do two days and the first day all the media came to cover it so we were there all night the next night since everyone saw it on the news the night before. We only promote it through our website though, but we still have over 200 people there.

Gameops.com: Do you sound check prior to the game?

Bosma: We have all our anthems arrive to the arena for a 5:00 pm sound check.

Gameops.com: Do you ever use alternate songs like America the Beautiful in lieu of the national anthem (why or why not)?

Bosma: We do - We have one singer who is pretty good, but they want to sing God Bless America - Other than that, we ask them do the anthem.

Gameops.com: Do you have a back-up plan if your anthem singer no-shows?

Bosma: In the past we have the crowd sing the anthem - We put the words up on the screen and have the whole crowd sing it - It works pretty good.

Gameops.com: When performing the anthem, can your singer see the words on a matrix or scoreboard?

Bosma: Yeah - this is new this year though - We had to do that after our Playoff National Anthem miscue with the girl who forgot the words. (See News Links below)

Jay Moore
Cleveland Cavaliers

Gameops.com: Briefly describe your presentation of the national anthem.

Moore: Performer(s) sing at center court, facing the color guard who is also at center court.

Gameops.com: Do you use pyrotechnics, dim the lights, use spotlights, or other special effect enhancements?

Moore: We do not use pyrotechnics (budget concerns). We do not dim the lights (we prefer to hold off on going lights out until the player introductions to maximize the dramatic effect). We do use spot lights on the performer(s) and color guard.

Gameops.com: Do you ever tie in the performance of the national anthem with ticket sales (groups who sell tickets perform, like a high school choir)?

Moore: Yes, we do so about 10-15 out of the 41 home games.

Gameops.com: Do you hold an audition for all interested singers prior to the season?

Moore: I have done so in the past, but we get so many applicants who send in CD's and tapes that it is not necessary to do live auditions.

Gameops.com: Do you sound check prior to the game?

Moore: Yes.

Gameops.com: Do you ever use alternate songs like America the Beautiful in lieu of the national anthem (why or why not)?

Moore: No. Fans expect the regular anthem, so that is what we perform. Once a year we have a soloist who performs an alternate verse of the anthem.

Gameops.com: Do you have a back-up plan if your anthem singer no-shows?

Moore: We keep a list of good local singers that live close by. We also have a dance team member who can sing the anthem. The final option is to play a track and encourage fans to sing along.

Gameops.com: When performing the anthem, can your singer see the words on a matrix or scoreboard?

Moore: Yes...on the matrix boards.

Josh Richardson
New Orleans Hornets

Gameops.com: Briefly describe your presentation of the national anthem.

Richardson: The Anthem singer walks out onto center court with a hand held wireless microphone and we show the name of the singer on the lower third graphics with a live shot.


Gameops.com: Do you use pyrotechnics, dim the lights, use spotlights, or other special effect enhancements?

Richardson: I use four spotlights to shoot the anthem singer, display Patriotic Images on the BuzzVision screen (going back and forth from the singer), LED Board has an American Flag and fireworks displayed during the Anthem, and the Message Boards have the National Anthem Verbiage.

Gameops.com: Do you ever tie in the performance of the national anthem with ticket sales (groups who sell tickets perform, like a high school choir)?

Richardson: We try to utilize local New Orleans schools, CYO's and Church groups to sell group tickets as an incentive for a large group to come and sing the National Anthem.

Gameops.com: Do you hold an audition for all interested singers prior to the season?

Richardson: We have National Anthem try-outs in August or September before each season.

Gameops.com: Do you sound check prior to the game?

Richardson: We do a sound check 30 minutes before doors opening.

Gameops.com: Do you ever use alternate songs like America the Beautiful in lieu of the national anthem (why or why not)?

Richardson: No, the NBA has it listed in the Game Operations Manual what we should sing to keep it uniform around the league and for timing purposes (TV and Radio Broadcast).

Gameops.com: Do you have a back-up plan if your anthem singer no-shows?

Richardson: We have an usher in-arena that can sing and I have a back-up track on our music system.

Gameops.com: When performing the anthem, can your singer see the words on a matrix or scoreboard?

Richardson: Yes.


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