CAPE ELIZABETH — When Hannah Kramer’s grandfather takes his season seat at Fenway Park on Aug. 23, he’ll witness more than just a Red Sox -Yankees game.
Kramer will kick off the night singing the “The Star-Spangled Banner” for a crowd of more than 35,000, which won’t include all her friends watching on TV.
She’s a little nervous, the 18-year-old UMaine sophomore and Maine Games anthem competition winner admitted, but she said the performance isn’t about her so much as “moving people and getting them psyched for the game.”
It isn’t the first time she’ll sing the song for a crowd – she sang it first at a Portland Pirates game when she was 16, and has gone on to sing for UMaine sporting events, Lewiston Mainiac games and even for a Boston Bruins game last New Year’s day. It will be her second appearance at Fenway, which she says is the most difficult arena she has performed in.
There’s so much reverberation – the echoing of her own voice throughout the stadium – that she had to plug one ear in order to hear herself singing the last time. It also didn’t help, she said, that a group of paratroopers landed behind her during the performance.
It’s all a little overwhelming, she said, but also awesome to sing in the stadium her dad and grandfather grew up attending. “I looked up, and remember vividly that there were all those people, but all I could see was the flag,” she said.
Kramer said her joy comes from moving people. “The melody, the lyrics, everything about that song is beautiful,” she said. “It’s moving to me to hear those words, and singing, I know they’ll move other people.”
She’ll sing Aug. 23 because of her gold medal at the Maine Games national anthem audition held in Auburn this spring. She competed against 26 others from across the state, and won the opportunity to sing at a Sea Portland Dogs game as well as at Fenway.
Though Kramer has gained some fame from her renditions of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” and “God Bless America” (which she’ll also sing next weekend), her real passion is jazz. At age 13, she recorded a CD along with local jazz pianist Thomas Snow, and she’s looking forward to a jazz performance in Bar Harbor for a friend’s party later this summer.
“I would love to do that again,” she said. “Now I’m 18, I want to go in, have a whole session, run it myself and put the songs together myself, hopefully sometime in the near future.”
Kramer’s Fenway performance will precede a nationally televised game on ESPN at 8:05 p.m. Aware that along with her entire family in the audience, all her friends will be tuned in via cable, Kramer is trying to treat it as “just another performance.”
“I have to keep that mindset,” she said. “Not thinking about my performance so much as just singing for those people. It’s what I love to do.”
Sarah Trent can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 108 or firstname.lastname@example.org.