Wednesday, August 15, 2012

And then Willie Mays walked in. . .

Dearest Readers,

I hope you are all well!
I write to from Athens, Georgia!!!

I have officially returned from my adventures abroad. I am back from New York and ready to start my second year as a DMA student at UGA.

Forgive me for my reticence, things have been kind of crazy these last few week.
You might notice the title of this post. . .

And the story goes something like:

I was reading my e-mail late Wednesday night and saw that my high-school choir teacher, Heidi Best, sent me both a facebook message and a post to my facebook wall. It was so late in the evening I figured I would contact her in the morning. I rose early that day to find an e-mail from Sylvia Weiner, PR for the Exploring the Arts foundation (Exploring the Arts Website), the non-profit foundation responsible for my high-school education. I forwarded the e-mail to my parents, Salina and Prof. Burchinal; it reads as follows:

I handle PR for Tony Bennett.
Susan Benedetto suggested I get in touch regarding an opportunity we have with the SF Giants baseball team on August 13. They want someone connected with ETA to sing Natl Anthem at the game and they will cover your travel. If you are interested let me know ASAP.
Sylvia Weiner
Office of Tony Bennett

As you could imagine, this was indeed an offer that I couldn't refuse. Out of all the students who have graduated in the last 7 year they chose me! Frank Sinatra School of the Arts '05 grad to represent the school, the organization and the Giants. I agreed and was put in contact with Faham Zakiearia, director of Special Ticket Events with the San Francisco Giants baseball team.

The experience couldn't have been more surreal! Faham's staff was accommodating and generous. The SF Giants flew me out Sunday and put me up for two nights at the Serrano Hotel in downtown San Francisco not 10 minutes from AT&T Park. The hotel staff welcomed me with open arms and complimentary wine! I met up with some friends who had, by a stroke of fate, just moved a week earlier to Oakland. Later Monday, after a brief tour of the area and a bite at China Boat, we made it to the ball park and the sound check (we made sure to arrive an hour early - just incase). I met all those involved, performed my sound-check and went out for my pre-performance ritual, steak.

An hour later I was in my grey suit, black shit, white tie and Frank Sinatra fedora. 7:02 comes around and I find myself on the baseball green, 10 feet from home plate, singing to Monday night's 40,000 seat crowd. The Anthem goes on without a hitch - the crowd goes wild! We are escorted up to the Tony Bennett suite where I spent the next 7 inning with the Sinatra family and members representing his estate. With the free food, free drinks, the great company, Frank Sinatra bobble-head dolls, posters and a cheering crowd who thought it could get better

then Willie Mays walked in...

 Some Shots of the hotel:

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