Gregorian Chants

Oklahoma enables a bittersweet realization of Reat Griffin Underwood’s dream

William Corporon (left) and Reat Griffin Underwood, victims of the shooting at Jewish facilities in Overland Park last April, shared a love of the University of Oklahoma.
William Corporon (left) and Reat Griffin Underwood, victims of the shooting at Jewish facilities in Overland Park last April, shared a love of the University of Oklahoma.

Before he was killed last year in the Jewish Community Center shootings, one of 14-year-old Reat Griffin Underwood’s dreams was to sing the national anthem at the University of Oklahoma.

After all, Reat was born in Norman, Okla. And his grandfather, William Corporon, with whom he was killed in the attack last April, had attended medical school at OU.

Allegiance to the school was among many things for which they shared a passion.

On Saturday at the Lloyd Noble Center, OU enabled a bittersweet realization of the dream when it played a video of Reat singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before its game with Texas Christian University.

OU said the following family members were on the court during the anthem: Mindy Corporon (mother), Will Corporon, Sam Golden, Len Losen, Lukas Losen, Melinda Corporon, Tony Corporon, Dana Corporon, Andrew Corporon and Katy Corporon.

Here is the script Oklahoma’s public-address announcer read before the anthem:

“Last April, two members of our OU family were killed in a terrible hate crime in Overland Park, Kan. 69-year-old Dr. William Corporon and his 14-year-old grandson Reat Underwood were gunned down as Reat was going into a music audition.

“Dr. Corporon and Reat were lifelong Sooner fans and proud supporters of the University of Oklahoma. Members of the family are here with us today to celebrate the lives of these great Sooners. Dr. Corporon is a 1972 graduate of OU College of Medicine. Reat was a freshman at Blue Valley High School in Overland Park, Kan.

“Reat wanted to be a performer. … One of his last performances was singing the national anthem at a school event a few months before his death. One of his dreams was to perform the national anthem at an OU sporting event. To honor that dream, we direct your attention to the SoonerVision screen…

“Please rise, and join Reat Underwood in singing our national anthem.”

Last summer, the Royals similarly honored Reat with a video of him singing the national anthem before a game against the Yankees.

There are at least two versions of video of Reat singing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” but this version posted by Mindy Corporon can be found on YouTube.

To reach Vahe Gregorian, call 816-234-4868 or send email to vgregorian@kcstar.com. Follow him on Twitter: @vgregorian. For previous columns, go to KansasCity.com.

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