Prior to tipoff of the University of Oregon’s men’s basketball game against Washington State on Jan. 27 the Melrose Elementary School choir sang the national anthem at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene.
The lights in the stands were dimmed as the fourth and fifth graders stood under a spotlight in the center of the court. Some of the performance even made it on ESPN’s national broadcast of the game.
“I liked it more than any other concert or performance we’ve every done,” fourth-grader Bryan Briggs said.
Azalina Campos, a fifth-grader, added, “I really liked it. It was fun, once in a lifetime and I liked the Ducks.”
And although not every member of the choir was a Ducks’ fan, they all enjoyed the experience.
They even had an encounter with Oregon mascot Puddles, who scuttled into an elevator after waving at the choir. The basketball players were a bit more elusive, but members of the choir did stay to watch the game.
Oregon State University-fan Paisley Woodley, who is a fourth-grader at Melrose Elementary, said, “It was fun and I’d like to thank the Ducks for asking us to perform.”
The University of Oregon reached out to the Roseburg elementary school, looking for a youth choir to perform the national anthem.
“I don’t know why, but I think they made the right choice,” choir teacher Harmony Klingenmeyer said. “They really did shine.”
The choir performed at a Roseburg High School girl’s basketball game as a warm-up for the Jan. 27 performance.
Klingenmeyer, who also teaches choir at Fir Grove Elementary School, tries to plan several activities for her choir students throughout the year.
Melrose Elementary’s choir is working toward a musical “I’m Harriet Tubman,” which was written by Klingenmeyer and fellow teacher Grace Johnson about abolitionist and political activist Harriet Tubman.
The students will perform the musical at the end of May.
Sports reporter Sanne Godfrey can be reached at 541-957-4203 or via email at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @sannegodfrey