Landon Dunaway has sung “The Star-Spangled Banner” “like, hundreds” of times. He’s sung it at home, at school, at memorial walks, and in front of veterans groups.
Landon, for all his star-spangled experience is only 8 years old and Sunday he will sing in front of his biggest audience yet. He was selected to sing the national anthem at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, home of the Knights minor-league baseball team.
“I’m really nervous,” Dunaway said Wednesday. “I mean, it’s a lot of people.”
BB&T Ballpark holds 10,200 people and like many Knights games this summer, tickets were nearly gone a few days before the game.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” is Landon’s favorite song to sing in public, he said. He’s got the execution down to a science, from the falsetto he likes to use on “land of the free” and the key change he does on “brave.”
Landon started singing when he was 5 years old and attended his aunt’s church.
“They were singing a song I really liked,” he said. So he learned that song. Then he learned how to sing another and another and another.
It wasn’t long before his teachers at Independence Elementary School noticed that he had talent, said Landon’s father, Scott Dunaway. Shortly after, he sang at the Joe Davis Memorial Run in Fort Mill. From there, the requests kept coming in and the Dunaways decided to send Landon and his brother, Branson, 10, to Northside Elementary School of the Arts, a choice school within the Rock Hill School District that emphasizes the arts.
Earlier in the spring, Landon was one of about 250 people who auditioned to sing the national anthem at a game, Scott Dunaway said.
“I was a little bit nervous,” said Landon, who said he hasn’t let stage fright be a problem since “he was little.”
Scott Dunaway said they’re proud of Landon and looking forward to seeing him on the big screen at the ballpark.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Landon said.
Landon will sing at 2 p.m. on Sunday before the Knights play the Pawtucket Red Sox.