Friday night begins yet another season of Astros baseball as our boys take on the Marlins. The great news for Houston music fans is that the season will kick off with a rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner" by our own 15-year-old ingénue country star Mary Sarah.
Sarah has shot into the stratosphere, traveling the country in a 40-city tour last year as part of a rolling rock concert for kids. Her work has depth, sweetness, and though Rocks Off usually consumes the souls of those kinds of performers even our black little heart melts for the honest songwriting and extraordinary work ethic Sarah has displayed since busting out onto the national stage.
The gig at Minute Maid Park is a huge deal, with a pretty significant portion of the Houston populace sure to attend and an even greater portion to watch via television. We wondered how someone so young would feel about having most of her home city staring at her as she tackled the national anthem (video of her rehearsing the anthem after the break).
"I am totally excited for this opportunity and super thankful to perform!" said Sarah. " I am sure I'm going to have some butterflies stepping out there on Friday but I'm not alone with lots of my fans and family in the audience. My grandpa is even flying over from Florida to see me sing."
Sarah joins some pretty impressive names when she takes the microphone at Minute Maid Park. The park opened its first game with Houston native country legend Lyle Lovett, who reprised his role for the 10th anniversary of the park in 2009. Two-time Grammy award winning Cuba singer Jon Secada has also performed, as well as astronaut Tracy Caldwell in 2006 and Jack Ingram, a Top 40 country artist who set the world record for the most radio interviews done in a single day (215). All and all, a diverse and distinguished group for Sarah to join.
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The "Star Spangled Banner" is of course the traditional song to sing before a baseball game, but we've always wondered if artists would rather bust out another favorite as long as they have such a captive audience. Sarah's pick?
"That's easy. I'd sing "Where the Boys Are" by Connie Francis," she told Rocks Off. "I sing it a lot at the Oprys here in Texas. It is an amazing song!"
Be sure to catch Sarah singing before we whip the Marlins at 6:00 PM tonight. You can follow Sarah on Twitter at @marysarahmusic.