Nov 27, 2012, 2:48 PM EST
You have to be a pretty talented athlete to compete for Notre Dame, so you probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn that sophomore cross country runner Megan Heeder followed up a 3200m state title as a high school junior, with a fourth place finish in the 1600m and a second place finish in the 3200m at the Michigan state finals her senior year. Something that is surprising: She also opened the meet with her rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The choice wasn’t an arbitrary one for the meet organizers. Megan performed in the renowned Michigan State University Children’s Choir for years, and has been singing the national anthem at sporting events for half her life.
“My dad coached for the MHSAA, the high school basketball association in Michigan, and he would help out with tournaments because they were at the Breslin Center, which is just like two blocks from our house,” Megan said. “So I started singing the national anthem for those probably when I was nine or ten. I loved performing any chance I could get.”
And the performances continued from there. She sang the anthem before a Michigan St. women’s basketball game as a member of the MSU Children’s Choir, and she would regularly sing before the regional and international dressage she competed in (Did we mention Megan is also an accomplished equestrian? Because she is.)
Megan’s vocal talents haven’t gone unutilized here at Notre Dame. She sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the O.S.C.A.R.S. (Outstanding Student-Athletes Celebrating Achievements & Recognition Showcase) last spring, and after seeing that performance, Mike Harrity of Student Welfare and Development asked if she’d be interested in singing at a varsity soccer game.
“I was like, ‘Oh, I will sing for anything, anytime, any sport,’ so it all just kind of went from there,” Megan said.
And that’s how Megan Heeder, varsity cross country runner, came to be singing the national anthem before the Irish women’s soccer team’s NCAA first round win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Nov. 9.
Luke Bryan, the country star who performed the anthem before the MLB All-Star game this summer, might get some peace of mind from writing the words on his hand before a big performance, but Megan has never worried about getting it right.
“I’ve sung through it so many times that when I sing it I don’t really think about the words,” Megan said. “I’m more focused on vocal things like what I need to do to make something sound smooth, what I need to do to make it seamless, so I’m more focused on that kind of thing than remembering or forgetting the words.”
Although “The Star-Spangled Banner” is a notoriously difficult piece for vocalists, Megan has grown comfortable with it.
“It is kind of hard, but I have a really broad range, and that really comes in handy with the national anthem,” Megan said. “There are definitely songs that are more fun to sing. But at the same time I’ve sung it for so long and I’ve had so many fun experiences singing it in front of people with it, that I really do enjoy singing it.”
Check out video of Megan’s recent performance below.
- Fencing. Notre Dame Sweeps ACC Fencer of the Week Accolades
- Baseball. Artificial Surface Paying Dividends For Irish In Preseason
- W. Soccer. Philadelphia Union Academy Director Tommy Wilson Joins 2015 National Soccer Coaching Seminar Clinician List
- M. Soccer. Philadelphia Union Academy Director Tommy Wilson Joins 2015 National Soccer Coaching Seminar Clinician List
- M. Basketball. #8/8 Notre Dame Plays Host To #4/4 Duke On Wednesday
- Softball. Irish Make History At #21 In ESPN.com/USA Softball Collegiate Top 25 Preseason Poll
- W. Basketball. Natalie Achonwa Named To 11th Annual ACC Women's Basketball Legends Class
- M. Tennis. Irish Extra: College Tennis A Different Animal For Schnurrenberger
- M. Basketball. Jerian Grant Nabs Second ACC Player of the Week Honor
- W. Basketball. Notre Dame Women's Basketball Duo Sweeps ACC Player and Freshman of the Week Awards
Fighting Irish on YouTube
- Last day to get free shipping on online store purchases for orders over $50- bit.ly/UNDstore Code JanuaryFS http://t.co/c6ztmbBDBE 11 minutes ago
- .@NDmbb is playing under the spotlight tonight, so #HitPlay on our Under the Lights @Spotify playlist to get ready- spoti.fi/1gnCHed 1 hour ago
- RT @NDFBEquipment: I have a sick one with me for a few hours, laundry carts are good for napping too! #GoIrish http://t.co/yJzcxvREHF 1 hour ago
- RT @NDMensTennis: The latest @ITATennis rankings are out and we maintain the No. 14 spot! #GoIrish 1 hour ago
- RT @GoIrish: Students, the line for @NDmbb vs. Duke tonight starts at 2PM at Gate 10. FREE pizza and enter-to-win a MBB jersey! @LepLegion … 1 hour ago