10:12 a.m., May 12, 2009----The brothers of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the music fraternity at the University of Delaware, were selected to sing the National Anthem at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on Sunday, May 10, and performed in front of an announced crowd of 33,290 fans shortly before the Baltimore Orioles played the New York Yankees.
Chapter chorale leader Chris Gage, a junior organ performance major in the Honors Program, arranged a version of the National Anthem for four-part voice and trained the brothers to sing it over the course of the fall semester.
“It's always hard to teach the brothers a new piece of music, especially this one because I thought the arrangement was tricky,” he said. “We worked hard enough for it to sound great in the end, and that's a credit to the brothers who put in the time to practice. The process was very exciting.”
A recording was made at the end of the fall semester and was sent to the Orioles, and other sports teams, shortly after.
A few months after the recording was sent, Gage said he thought the recipients of the recording may have forgotten about the fraternity's entry or decided not to invite them to sing. However, a voicemail from the Orioles suddenly changed his thoughts.
“After I heard the voicemail from the Orioles saying they wanted to book us, it was just a very exciting moment of the day,” he said. “When I got the call, I was first very surprised, but after that, I was very excited that we were going to do this.”
Brendan McDonnell, a sophomore music education major, said the he and the group felt lucky and eager to perform and did not worry about singing in front of a large crowd.
“I felt a lot less nervous than I thought I would,” he said. “My adrenaline and everyone else's excitement got me through without thinking about being nervous. As a Yankees fan, being able to sing for my favorite team just added to the excitement.”
Chapter President Jason Angelo, a junior political science and history double major in the honors program, said the performance was a welcome trip off campus and thought the experience helped portray the University in a positive light.
“It was a great way to show what the fraternity stands for, advancing music in America,” he said. “It's not everyday you get to stand in front of a big crowd and professional athletes while representing the University in such a manner as this.”
Article by Jon Bleiweis