Real Story Behind Ponce National Anthem Performance!

As you may know, my sons and I performed the national anthem yesterday at the White Sox home opener.  It was an honor and a thrill.

But here’s the full story:

To their credit, when they invited us to perform, the Sox asked for a sample recording first.

We rehearsed three separate times before opening day.  I’m pretty sure the boys could have gotten by with two rehearsals but they probably suspected their old man needed the third one for his self confidence!

For the first time in years, I vocalized every day for about 10 days to get my voice back into shape.  My wife kindly accompanied me each time.

I actually printed out the words to the anthem to make sure I had them down cold.

On the drive down to U.S. Cellular Field, Dan told Anthony and me about national anthem etiquette:  be understated and make it about the anthem, not about the performer.  Afterwards, give the audience a brief, polite wave and then quickly get off the field.

One last thing about the performance.  If you watch the clip at the top, you’ll notice Dan is assertively directing.  That’s because the echo in the stadium threw us off slightly during the rehearsal so Anthony and I asked Dan to give clear visual cues because we couldn’t rely on our ears.

Some people have said that afterwards I looked intensely proud of my sons.  I was.  But, believe me, the overwhelming emotion was relief that we got through the one-and-a-half octave anthem without doing it any apparent permanent damage!

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  • Linda Bertagnolli Williams

    Excellent job guys! NWI is very proud of you!

  • Bun :)

    BRAVO!!! The best rendition I’ve heard in a long time! The Ponce’s were in perfect pitch if you ask me. The ballpark should sign your family on to sing more often. I really enjoyed listening. To all of the Ponce’s, thank you!

  • You were all great!! You hit it out of the park.



  • Krys

    Indeed, well done! And Dan’s etiquette tips should be shared with any and all future guest singers.

  • Tremendous job gentlemen! Your heart of servitude and terrific talent is such a perfect pitch for such a special and momentous occasion! Thank you!!

  • Linda

    Your performance was outstanding. I had to watch it on WTTW news, since Comcast had commercials on at that time of the Sox opener.
    I appreciated your accapella voices. You are very talented. Thanks.

  • Linda ZP

    That was awesome! We ran into Phil at Loyola Admitted Student Day and although my husband had seen the performance, our son and I missed it. It was amazing!!!! Sorry missed it live! Go Sox!