A January tradition in Bradenton returns next week when the Pittsburgh Pirates hold auditions to sing the national anthem before home spring training games.
Auditions will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Jan. 13 at LECOM Park, 1611 Ninth St. W., as the Pirates gear up for their 50th spring in Bradenton.
The Pirates are scheduled to play 16 home games this spring, beginning Feb. 24 against the New York Yankees.
Pirates spokesman Nate March said between 40 and 60 people usually show up for the auditions, and 16 will be picked to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Nick Long, the coordinator of LECOM Park operations, will lead the auditions this year.
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Those who audition but are not selected will have their information kept on file for potential anthem openings during the Bradenton Marauders’ Florida State League season, March said.
Prospective singers must feel comfortable performing in front of audiences of 7,000 people or more.
Auditions will be conducted a cappella and must be no longer than two minutes in length, the team said. Auditions will be conducted for vocalists only; instrumental renditions will not be accepted.
Pirates employees will supervise the auditions and determine which performers will be invited to fill open spots in the spring training schedule.
Also, those who want to sing the Canadian National Anthem before games against the Toronto Blue Jays on March 1 or March 22 are welcome to audition by singing “O Canada.”