Oh, say can you see their passion to perform?

Mar. 16, 2013 @ 10:54 PM

Oh, say, can you see that long line at The Streets at Southpoint?

If you were at the mall on Saturday, you would have.

More than 100 people showed up for the Durham Bulls’ National Anthem auditions, hoping to be chosen to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at this season’s baseball games.

They came from far and wide, but the first singer was from Durham, and her voice was  as smooth as a slice of French silk pie.

When she completed her flawless performance, the crowd burst into applause at the outdoor stage beside Southpoint Cinemas.

“This is so much fun,” 37-year-old Laura Jones said after she left the stage. “Baseball is America’s pastime, and the National Anthem is just wonderful.”

Jones comes from a family of singers, so she has genes on her side. She’s sung for the Bulls for several years, and started putting words to music when she was 5.

“My dad and I still sing together,” she said.

Waiting patiently in line to take the stage was 12-year-old Jordan Coppedge, a seventh-grader at West Millbrook Middle School in Raleigh.

“I’m very nervous, but really excited,” she said.

Jordan said she’d been rehearsing the National Anthem for days.

“I’m pretty sure my friends and family are ready to tell me to stop, because I sing it all the time,” she said.

Another contestant, 12-year-old Nicholas Kraft of Clayton, said he’s always wanted to sing on stage. He plans a career in theater or on the silver screen, and said he doesn’t feel nervous in front of crowds.

Madison Garinger, 10, of Morrisville, came to the audition “because I thought it would be fun to represent our country.”

“I’m a little nervous, but also excited,” she said.

For 16-year-old Allen Botwick of Holly Springs, singing is a passion.

“I sing the National Anthem for my school, Holly Springs High School,” he said. “I love the feeling when you reach the end and the crowd goes crazy. This is just a great opportunity.”

Allen loves music that has stood the test of time.

“Elvis is my idol,” he said. “My room is decorated with Elvis and The Beatles. I love the old, good stuff.”

About 30 winners are expected to be named from Saturday’s audition, and each will sing at one Bulls game, according to Scott Carter, the Bulls’ marketing director.

Singers aren’t paid in money, but still get rewarded.

“It’s the pleasure of singing the anthem in front of 10,000 Bulls fans,” he said. “This is a big deal for folks. We have people coming from far and wide, emailing us all the time with You Tube videos. It’s a lot of fun.”