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Mack Williams: Time to audition again

Mack Williams

Recently, it was again time to audition at Haynes Mall for prospective performers of the National Anthem to sing at one of the Winston-Salem Dash baseball games.
I’ve auditioned 8 times (years); and have only been turned down once, receiving a letter stating the reason of so many voices of similar quality to mine (there must have really been an exceptional outpouring of vocal talent that year! ahem!).

My son, Jeremy and I were to meet up with my daughter Rachel and her husband Richard. Jeremy drove, as I have no GPS (neither external, nor internal). I don’t know whether or not it was due to “Corona virus trepidation,” as there seemed to be only about half as many people in the mall at 11:30 a.m. But there were just as many singers waiting to “take the plunge”(or considering the National Anthem’s range,” Give the stretch!”). Perhaps “singer’s ego” has some inoculative powers over a virus for which there’s not yet an inoculation, who knows?

And one should never stand in front of a National Anthem auditioner, as it is possible to be sprayed with either viral, bacterial, or hopefully, sterile liquid, especially during that last upper part of the song where the word “free” is reached!

Ahead of me in line was an athletic-looking young lady using a pair of crutches. I always tell the singer in front of me to “Break a leg,” but thought better of it this time , and didn’t; as it appeared she may already have done so.

Everything went fine; and I managed once again not to replicate the singing of the Late Leslie Nielsen in the movie “Naked Gun” (1988). My daughter Rachel says that a National Anthem singer, using the fictional name “Enrico Palazzo” (used by Nielsen in the movie) should show up in tux and tails to perform the Anthem in the same manner as Leslie Nielsen did just to see what would happen.

We looked around the mall a while, Jeremy and I going into a jerky store, “jerky” not implying the personality of store staff, or having anything to do with that Steve Martin movie, but rather, dried meat. I couldn’t believe the variety. In addition to the usual venison, there was wild boar, kangaroo, snake, camel, alligator, and even snapping turtle (kind of like the “dried” version of a “wet” market).

There was a greater quantity, and definitely greater variety of “dried meat” than what we saw at “The Mummies of the World Exhibit” at Charlotte’s Discovery Place some years back.

However, I was surprised that the jerky store manager wasn’t familiar with pemmican (I mean, really! He must not have known about Roald Amundsen, Robert Falcon Scott, and pemmican’s inventors, the Native Americans!).

While clothes shopping, Rachel pointed out that a jacket about which I was excited resembled the  one Christopher Walken wore on the Saturday Night Live skit, “The Continental” : Champa-g-n-n-y-y-e?” I didn’t purchase it.

Rachel suggested a nice Hawaiian shirt, of better quality than those worn by Gary Busey on his old TV show “Busey and Me” (I always thought Busey was cool, but a little crazy).

As I rested on a bench, mall chatter and store music played aural tricks with the sounds of distant voices of National Anthem auditioners. I could have sworn I heard one sing: “And the skies are not cloudy all day!”

Senior men wearing Vietnam Veteran hats came by and rested on the same bench with me.I suddenly thought back to how happy I was as a young, man when drawing a high lottery number (299); but sitting there with those brave men, I suddenly felt the lesser for having drawn that high number.

Leaving later, we saw National Anthem audition officials leaving too, their job at end.

For a good part of that day, those judges had given their all, or at least, like Mark Antony’s audience, their ears.

 

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