WASHINGTON - For the first time in its history, vocalists from the U.S. Air Force Band will be performing in the mecca of all sporting events – the Super Bowl.
Ten members from the band’s Singing Sergeants are on their way to New Jersey for this year’s grid-iron classic between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. Senior Master Sgt. Christine Germain, a native of Newington, Conn., has been in the Air Force Band just shy of 19 years. A member of the Singing Sergeants for seven of those years, she is looking forward to the experience – despite the New England Patriots not being in there.
“We’ll be part of a 32 joint chorus group comprised of members from all branches of service. Together we’ll be backing up Renee Fleming, who is a renowned opera soprano, as she sings the national anthem. We’re really excited,” Germain said. “We want to show how well we work together as one team representing service members from around the globe. It’s a one of a kind event. We’re honored to have been asked to participate.”
Her colleague, Senior Master Sgt. Robert Harrelson, has been with the Singing Sergeants for 15 years. He said members are naturally excited.
“The group is looking forward to it. That’s for sure,” Harrelson said. “I’ve often found that it’s not so much about us as chorus members. It’s about us as military members. This is a great stage to show your passion for country.”
Both Germain and Harrelson said the initial request from the Department of Defense (DoD) initially wanted members of the U.S. Army Men’s Chorus. Though, it soon evolved into becoming a joint-chorus showcase. Air Force members have been practicing the last two weeks with their contemporaries at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB).
“Weather shouldn’t be an issue. We’re usually in a holding area just before going out on the field,” Harrelson said. “I don’t think the cold weather elements will really affect us. Even so, I doubt anyone from the group would mind.”
Another Singing Sergeant, Master Sgt. Matthew Irish, isn’t really a football fan, but said it’s every singer’s dream to sing with someone like Fleming.
“It’s an honor to share the spotlight with her. It’s a double-honor to be participating in such an event like this,” Irish said. “No matter the experience, every event is unique in its own way. The national anthem is one of the most important things we will do in our careers. This opportunity means a lot to us.”