Home of the brave? Yes indeed.
Monday afternoon the brave included 7-year-old Riley Servoss and 51-year-old Barbara Dorn-DuPlessis and several dozen other Utahns who auditioned to sing the national anthem at this season's home games of the Salt Lake Bees.
"It's one of the most difficult songs to sing," acknowledged Bees judge Kim Raap, who used to audition singers for University of Utah home games and thus has cringed her way through many an attempt of "and the rockets' red glare."
People have been auditioning "The Star-Spangled Banner" for sporting events for years, long before there was "American Idol." Still, it was hard not to be in an "American Idol" frame of mind as contestant after contestant stood in front of Raap and judge Chance Fessler and tried to make America's most difficult song sound effortless and heartfelt.
Molly Creel was operatic. Kareena Brennan, age 8, tried a more Celine Dion approach. Andrea Standing had a touch of Mariah Carey. There were soloists, duos, trios, quartets and the Beehive Statesmen barbershop group, who plan to bring 45 singers to the stadium if they're chosen.
The Bees are looking for a traditional sound, says Raap. "It's got to be clean, clear, on key. And the words have to be right."
Monday's auditions were held in a suite high above home plate. Out the picture window you could see that the outfield grass is finally turning green. The Bees' opening day is April 16.
By then, Raap and Fessler will have picked their favorite rookie singers, who will be added to the roster of singers from previous years. Those who aren't chosen should remember, says Fessler, that American Idol's David Archuleta tried out to sing the national anthem for the Utah Jazz when he was 8 and didn't make it.