- The Mason Spirit - https://spirit.gmu.edu -

O Say Can You See

Performing the national anthem at a major event in front of a national audience is a dream come true for many musicians. When the National Anthem Contest for Mason Alumni Night at D.C. United was announced, Green Machine [1] alumni members, Katie Anderson, BM ’14, BSN ’18; Bobby Lacy II, ’16; Wagnus Prioleau, BS Mathematics ’19; and Andrew Velez, ’13, MEd ’16, MM ’19, knew they could not pass up the opportunity.From left, Katie Anderson, Andrew Velez, the Patriot, Bobby Lacy II, and Wagnus Prioleau after singing the national anthem.

Contestants submitted a video of themselves singing the national anthem a cappella style. The contest was only open to Mason alumni. Ten entries were selected to participate in the voting rounds. Entries included soloists, a duo, and the quartet group. The first round garnered 675 votes; the second round garnered 921 votes.

As the quartet prepared to take Audi Field and sing the national anthem before thousands of fans and a national television audience, they said, “It’s really an honor to get this chance to represent Mason.”

The musicians were long-time members of the Green Machine as vocalists and instrumentalists. Anderson’s experience exemplifies the talent of the alumni quartet. She was a vocalist in the band for four years and returned as a vocalist coach for four additional years.

In their post-Mason life, the alumni are pursuing their career aspirations and continue to use their musical talents as freelance musicians.

As members of the Green Machine, the alumni quartet experienced some of their most joyful times as students, beating rival VCU on Valentine’s Day and collaborating with Lady Antebellum during the band’s 2017 tour. The Green Machine accompanied the Patriots to the 2015 Charleston Classic, a trip that offered an opportunity to be of service in the wake of a national tragedy. Five months after the massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, the band gave back to the community by volunteering at a local food bank and giving a public concert at Marion Square.

When the quartet looks back on their Mason years, they cherish the music they created and lifelong friendships they made. Anderson reminds students that, “College is short, but your college friends can last a lifetime if you reach out after graduation.”

To see the final entries and the quartet’s submission, visit bit.ly/gmuanthem [2].

—Roddena Kirksey