This year will mark the eighth year of the Royals Fans Got Talent competition where Royals fans or other performers can audition to perform The Star-Spangled Banner or God Bless America during a real Royals’ baseball game during the real 2017 season.
You’ll note that that link doesn’t provide very much information right now, but for at least the past two years the Royals have announced the competition no later than March. This article from Fox 4 News details the rules as they were announced last year and they were much the same in 2015 so they’re likely to continue to be very similar to that this year, as well. How do I know so much about the 2015 contest? Because I participated that year, and even got invited to the on-field portion of the event.
In 2015 they actually announced the auditions a couple weeks earlier than 2016 and I decided to audition for the National Anthem and created an MP3 for the digital portion of the audition. I later made a YouTube video from the MP3 to post on my YouTube channel for my friends:
I had given up entirely on being called back - thinking we were well past the deadline for being invited to audition in person. I finally received the e-mail informing me I was going to get an opportunity to perform the song on the field at Kauffman Stadium in about a week at 9:30 AM on a Saturday morning. As many of you know, I live in the Atlanta area so I got my dad to do the thirteen-hour road trip with me, got the time off work, and committed to be there.
After the drive, I spent the night before the audition at my aunt’s apartment, a mere fifteen minutes from the Truman Sports Complex, and got to Kauffman with my dad the next morning. He waited in the parking lot, and attempted to record me when he heard me singing out there but the quality was too distorted on his phone. When I arrived I entered through Gate C to find both a stadium tour going on and a couple of people sitting behind a table allowing the performers to sign in.
After signing in I watched the tour as they talked about the various pieces of art and other things of note in the lobby for a short while before I was called down into the stadium with three other performers. We were all seated in the section directly to the right of the one directly behind home plate - which is where the handful of judges were seated with their clipboards.
The rules say that the performance must sung both a cappella and the traditional version of the anthem. But the first performer in my group was a 12- or 13-year-old boy who played a metal-esque version of the anthem on his electric guitar. There was a great deal of discussion about equipment setup during which the boy’s father insisted he had performed for many other teams without a problem, but without question the version of the their song was the exact opposite of a cappella. The point being, if you’ve got a way you want to perform the song that isn’t one of those things you should still audition. You never know if they might let you in!
Before my turn a high school-age girl performed. I note this because her version was both a cappella and not in the same key I wanted to perform. They did not provide a pitch pipe and it never occurred to me to bring my own. I also don’t know if they would have allowed me to use it in any case. So if you choose to audition, be absolutely 100% confident in your key. You also need to be very sure about your tempo. The performance must not be any longer than 90 seconds but you don’t want to rush it either. And changing your tempo is really easy to do without any sort of metronome and while the nerves are hitting you.
Once it was my turn I was admitted on to the field but told not to step off of the warning track on to the grass. They handed me a portable microphone pack that came with ear buds plugged into it as well. The earbuds, it was explained to me, were because there was a sound delay between a performer singing and the sound coming out of the stadium speakers. I was told to look toward the scoreboard, so that I was not looking at the judges, and sing whenever I was ready. I’m not sure if the instruction to avoid looking at the judges was for my benefit or theirs. In any case, about halfway through my performance my right ear bud came partially out of my ear, so I can definitively state that they are not kidding about the distraction level of hearing your voice well after you’ve actually sung a note.
Ultimately they declined to secure my services for performing in an actual game. But actually standing on that field and singing the national anthem for an audience of about 30 (there were also workmen repairing or updating various areas of the stadium) is an experience I will never forget. If you are thinking about auditioning this or any other year I highly recommend the experience. It won’t cost you anything - unless you have to road-trip halfway across the country too - and who knows; maybe you’ve got the talent to sing in front of thousands.