As a room full of Airmen render a salute and civilians place their hands over their heart, the national anthem echoes throughout the venue sung by a confident and strong voice.
The singing of the national anthem is a traditional part of many ceremonies and events in our nation, and several Airmen at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., have earned the unique opportunity of being chosen as designated singers. These Airmen are the go-to singers for official events such as award ceremonies, promotions and change of commands.
Senior Airman Timothy Orr, 944th Operations Group Aviation Resource manager, and Senior Airman Kyle Campbell, 56th Communications Squadron Network Operations technician, are two of the national anthem singers on base.
Orr explained how the national anthem represents the United States and how he feels a sense of pride, heritage and patriotism while singing it, especially to the public. For Orr, singing the national anthem is not only a way to honor his country but also an opportunity to merge his love for music with his work.
“Before I joined the military, music had always been a part of my life,” said Orr. “I’ve been part of acoustic duos and played percussion for numerous bands. Music runs throughout my family and it’s always been around me.”
To further merge his passion with his work, Orr is currently auditioning for the lead male vocalist position in the U.S. Air Force premier rock band, Max Impact. As Orr awaits a call he continues to sing the national anthem at Luke’s events.
In order to be chosen for singing the national anthem, on base these Airmen go through an audition process.
The process for auditioning is simple and easy, said Campbell. If an Airmen was interested they need to audition through the wing’s Protocol office and if they’re approved they can start singing at events.
Luke’s national anthem singers perform all around base and in the local area for ceremonies, however, occasionally they get the chance to represent the Air Force in front of thousands.
“The most memorable event I sang at was a Dodgers spring training game at Goodyear Ballpark,” said Campbell. “There were 6,000 people and I have never been more in the spotlight. I’m pretty sure I just blacked out for the minute and a half but when I finished the applause was amazing.”
Being one of the individuals chosen to sing the national anthem for the base comes with many rewards, including special events, but it also gives Airmen an insight into Air Force culture.
“For me the most rewarding part of the experience is getting to meet such a wide variety of people,” said Campbell. “It’s such a welcoming environment and you feel like you are really giving something back to the Airmen of this base.”