Louisa DeLoach got the chance to do something not many other 12-year-olds get to do: sing her country’s national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, in front of thousands of people before a baseball game on the Fourth of July.
Louisa, a rising seventh-grader at Camden Middle School (CMS), and the daughter of Joe and May DeLoach, received the, usually, once in a lifetime opportunity after singing the national anthem at this year’s Carolina Cup.
“Someone who heard her sing said there was this contest to choose who would sing the national anthem at the Charlotte SkyShow and said we should enter her,” Joe DeLoach said July 3. “So I recorded a video of her and sent it in and she won.”
Charlotte radio station 107.9 The Link conducted the “National Anthem Star” search contest. Morgan Carver, the station’s marketing coordinator, said more than 50 people sent videos of themselves singing the national anthem. Louisa made the top three.
“She sent a video of her singing the national anthem at the Carolina Cup,” Carver said. “We chose her because the performance was heartwarming and brought a patriotic feel to the audience, which was reflected Friday night. She did a great job.”
Louisa -- who played percussion in the CMS band and plays guitar -- went to Charlotte on July 2 to have a run-through, singing the anthem in an empty stadium to get a feel for the sound system and acoustics, her father said.
Friday’s SkyShow, according to its Facebook page, started at 3 p.m. with a street party filled with kids activities, live music, a Ferris wheel and “street food.” Doors to the ballpark opened at 5 p.m. with the opening ceremonies starting at 7 p.m.
That was Louisa’s cue to sing … in front of a sell-out crowd, no less. According to the Knights’ website, the game broke a special record: the ballpark welcomed its 429,133rd fan of the season, besting a record set way back in 1993 when the Knights still played at a stadium in South Carolina’s Fort Mill. Park managers said 10,219 fans were in the stadium by the time Louisa sang Friday night.
Even before leaving Camden to head to Charlotte on Friday, she received a call from another Charlotte sports franchise: the Charlotte Hounds professional lacrosse team.
“They said they wanted her to sing at their game, too, so she actually sang the national anthem two times in a row, Friday and Saturday,” Joe DeLoach said.
Louisa said that while she enjoyed singing in front of the Charlotte Knights crowd, she was less nervous in front of the Hounds.
“Just because I had done it already,” she said. “It was super fun.”
Louisa said she enjoys singing The Star-Spangled Banner for two reasons. First off, she said, she’s simply so much experience singing it.
“But also because of the way it makes people feel when I sing it -- I’m singing it for everyone who’s fought and for America,” Louisa said, adding that despite her nervousness, she thinks she sang well Friday night.
Following the baseball game -- the Knights won, by the way, defeating the Norfolk Tides, 6-3 -- the SkyShow continued inside the ballpark with a post game and flag ceremony capped off with fireworks.