Rhapsody sings for the Reds

Singing the national anthem is a typical activity for the advanced mixed choir at Greenwood Community High School.

Rhapsody choir members sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” to kick off choir concerts, start football games and soccer matches and to open a marching band invitational.

In April, the high school students will be singing in the major leagues.

The group has been chosen to sing the national anthem at a Cincinnati Reds game April 23, when the Major League Baseball team will take on the Chicago Cubs.

Representatives from the baseball team choose choir groups, band groups, school groups, military groups and other musicians to fill the 81 slots for home games, said Zach Bonkowski, senior director of promotional events for the Reds.

But most of those openings for a group to sing the national anthem already are taken with local groups out of the Cincinnati area who perform annually, he said.

About 15 slots are then open for auditions. About 100 to 150 groups typically audition, Bonkowski said.

The groups that are chosen have to agree to sell tickets before the game. Greenwood hopes to sell 400 before their baseball debut, he said.

Choirs and other groups audition by sending in tapes of them singing “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Officials choose who will fill the 15 slots based on the audition and partly on ticket commitments, Bonkowski said.

Any group can audition, and Greenwood is one of a handful from Indiana who are filling out the national anthem roster for the team.

“We are open to anything as long as it’s traditional; we want it done in a traditional way,” he said.

About 66 Greenwood students will be part of the performance.

Choir students at Greenwood typically take one trip a year that allows them to sing outside of central Indiana.

Last year they went to Disney. This year, directors wanted the group to stay a little bit closer, choir director Daniel Borns said.

“It is sort of a little trip to reward them for the end of the school year,” he said.

Students are looking forward to taking their talents to another state, senior Ellie Planalp said.

Going outside of school helps the program gain recognition and is fun for the students, she said.

“It is a big deal, everyone knows the Reds,” she said. “It is publicizing our school and our department.”

Part of the reason Borns wanted the group to sing at a Reds game is because Indiana doesn’t have any teams in Major League Baseball and the Reds are the closest to Indianapolis.

Borns grew up wanting to play for the team. Taking students to sing the national anthem is the next best thing, he said.

“I have been a Reds baseball fan since I could remember,” he said. “If I couldn’t play for the Reds, I could take a group there.”

Now they have to prepare.

Students are used to singing the national anthem, and the song is in their every day repertoire.

“It is something we can polish up pretty quickly,” he said.

If you go

What: See Greenwood students sing the national anthem at a Cincinnati Reds game.

When: 7:10 p.m. April 23

Where: Great American Ball Park

Get tickets: Tickets can be purchased through the school by e-mailing lknartzer@gws.k12.in.us or calling  317-889-4030, extension 334.

Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at mkritsch@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2770.