Tonight Elliott Yamin was given the honor and musical assignment to sing the national anthem before game 2 of the NBA finals between the Dallas Mavericks and the Miami Heat. With his hand over his heart, which was covered by a Dallas jersey, Elliott put his own patriotic stamp on one of the most technically difficult melodies in the American songbook. In Elliott's case, part of the challenge was waiting in the middle of the arena for the crowd to stop cheering so he could hear himself with his one good ear.
What a warm welcome back to the national stage! Elliott, we missed you.
As a matter of personal preference, I like The Star Spangled Banner straightforward and faithful to the original. The trick is to start in your lower register to accommodate the higher glory notes. Elliott obviously planned to decorate the familiar melody with his signature soulful runs. However, as the opening line began in Elliott's mid-range, he really had to improvise as the melody soared.
You Tube and Go Fish have the video. The mp3 can be downloaded here.
Elliott's rendition wasn't his best ever - no doubt due to the crowd, unique acoustics and the thrill of the moment. If you want to hear recent pitch perfect a cappella performances by Elliott, watch video 1 and video 2 from his visit to the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital.
Monday Morning Update:
According to Kate Hairopoulos, Elliott "is quite the rising star."
He charmed her with his wit and knowledge of basketball - and likewise charmed the Mavericks' dancers, who wanted to be photographed with him. She revealed that Elliott was slated to sing during the Detroit Pistons-Miami Heat series, which ended before his scheduled appearance. Obviously, he brought Dallas, who beat the Heat handily, some good luck.
Look for a photo of Elliott near the bottom of Hairopoulos' article.