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A new tradition has emerged in North Carolina.
After technical difficulties cut a singer’s performance short a few weeks ago, the crowd at a Charlotte soccer stadium joined in and helped finish the National Anthem. Since then, the entire crowd has continued to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the start of the games, as opposed to just listening to one singer perform.
The Charlotte FC soccer team plays its games at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
Last month, singer Michelle Brooks-Thompson was hired to sing the anthem during the opening ceremonies for a game against the LA Galaxy. In the middle of the song, however, technical difficulties cut off the singer’s microphone, the Charlotte Observer reports.
In response, the crowd finished the song.
Since then, singers Adam Lee Decker and Danny McHugh were set to sing the anthem. The crowd, however, decided to keep singing along.
McHugh only sang the first words of the song before switching gears and conducting the crowd as they sang the rest.
“It took me a second to process because of the tradition of everyone standing, removing their hats and listening to someone like me sing the national anthem,” McHugh told the Charlotte Observer. “It was a very novel and cool feeling of having these thousands of voices coming back at me.”
He also described how the new tradition helped take the pressure off of him as a performer.
The National Anthem has some sections that can be difficult for vocalists. Due to the importance of the song, performers take it seriously and try to avoid making mistakes. With the crowd singing along, McHugh explained that allowed him to let them handle the parts when the song gets very high.