Renowned mezzo-soprano Joyce DiDonato said she wasn’t nervous when she performed the national anthem before Wednesday’s World Series game. But afterward she said, “My heart won’t stop beating. It was one of those moments I’ll never, never, never, never forget.”
The Grammy winner, who grew up in Prairie Village, flew into Kansas City just hours before she walked onto the field at Kauffman Stadium for game seven, players from both the Royals and the Giants standing shoulder to shoulder, hands on their hearts.
“It’s really so powerful to see those guys at attention and ready to listen,” DiDonato said.
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Major League Baseball supplied her fan gear: a dark World Series jacket over an Amos Otis jersey — a tribute to the legendary Royals center fielder who played in the 1980 World Series.
Of her six siblings, three sisters and a brother came with her. She only learned on Monday that she had been tapped to sing.
It was a dream gig for a woman who this week told The New York Times of a cherished memory from the late 1970s, of her father saving his money and treating his children to a day at the ballpark.
DiDonato credits her friend, Beth Munce with making it all happen. Munce started the #LetJoyceSing social media campaign on Twitter and Facebook, generating media coverage from national and international news outlets.
A KansasCity.com poll showed that people overwhelmingly wanted to hear DiDonato sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at one of the home games during the Series.
In the thank-you video posted to YouTube on Monday, a grateful DiDonato thanked her “boisterous, fabulous and passionate” fans.
She’d sung the anthem at the stadium once before, at a Royals-Yankees game in 2007.
Classical performers have been enthusiastically embraced by fans at big sporting events. Opera star Renee Fleming sang the national anthem at this year’s Super Bowl. And, of course, the Kansas City Symphony performed it at game six Tuesday night.