Maple Hills singers to get star-spangled treatment at Safeco
May 20, 2014
By Christina Corrales-Toy
Maple Hills Elementary School fifth-grader Makenna Weeks has one bit of advice for her classmates before they sing the national anthem at a Seattle Mariners game May 27.
“Just don’t do anything awkward, like picking your nose,” she joked.
The students will, after all, be featured prominently on Safeco Field’s massive video screen, when they kick off another game of America’s pastime, with the tune that represents the nation.
After two audio-recorded auditions, the Maple Hills choir made the cut, and will send about 50 fourth- and fifth-graders to the May 27 game against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
“The first time the organization was unsure, but we recorded it again and they were like, ‘Oh yes, that’s exactly what we want,’” Maple Hills music teacher Kari Wilkinson said.
The choir has been practicing every Tuesday in anticipation for the big performance. They’ll likely sing in front of a crowd of more than 10,000 people, but the kids have done a good job of keeping their nerves in check.
“We’re in a group, so the way I see it is they’re not going to all be staring at just you,” fifth-grader Cassidy Applegate said.
Someone from the Mariners approached Wilkinson about the opportunity. It caught her completely off guard, she said, but once she heard about it, she was determined to make sure her students got to experience this chance of a lifetime.
“They deserve this because they’ve been working so hard for me all year,” she said.
Fifth-grader Leonard Nguyen said he’s not a huge baseball fan, but he is excited to sing at Safeco Field.
Leonard joined the school’s choir to help him overcome his shyness. A few awarded solos later, it has certainly worked, he said, as he gained a newfound appreciation for music.
“Choir gives you an experience to learn new things every day about music,” he said. “And music has everything, even math, science and history.”
Cassidy likened singing the national anthem to the customary “play ball” announcement before a game — it’s simply an integral part to the start of any contest.
“I’m looking forward to going somewhere new and watching a game where we actually contributed to it sort of,” she said.
The students and their families will get to stay and watch the game after the performance. For the fifth-graders, it will be one of their last big Maple Hills events before they graduate from the school in June.
“This is the last thing they’ll remember from elementary school and I want it to be memorable,” Wilkinson said. “It’s been a lot of work, but I know it’s going to be worth it.”
if you go
Maple Hills Elementary School choir sings at Mariners game
- 7:10 p.m. May 27
- Safeco Field
- 1250 First Ave., Seattle
- Buy game tickets at Mariners.com.