VINCENT - Lately, the Warren High School bass chorus has been singing in some unusual places.
They've performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" in the school's gym at boys and girls basketball games, at different locations around the school and even outside at a soccer game this fall.
It's all in preparation for tonight, when the 22-member, all-male chorus will sing the national anthem a cappella at an even bigger venue - Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, prior to the tipoff of an NBA game between the host Cavaliers and the Denver Nuggets.
Photo provided by Mary Margaret Nuzum
The Warren High School Bass Chorus rehearses Tuesday in the school gymnasium as preparation for their performance of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at tonight’s Cleveland Cavaliers game.
"A little school down in Vincent going up to the Cavs' game to sing - it's pretty cool," said senior Andrew Gaughan, a first-year member of the group.
Choir teacher Mary Margaret Nuzum was actually contacted about the opportunity a couple of years ago by someone with the Cavalier organization, who'd likely had the group recommended to them by someone familiar
with their performances in state music competitions. Eventually, the group's audition video was sent in and Nuzum found out in June they'd been accepted.
Chorus at the Q
The Warren High School Bass Chorus will perform the national anthem prior to tonight's Cleveland Cavaliers game against the Denver Nuggets at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
The song will not be broadcast, but the 22-member group will receive a recording of their a cappella performance.
WMOA-AM 1490's John Wharff said the station will play the recording a couple of times on Thursday, and people who would like a copy of the audio file can email him at email@example.com.
The last local school groups to take the court at the Q were Wood County Christian's boys and girls basketball teams, who played games there in 2012.
Source: Times research.
"It's a great honor for us, and we're really excited about it," she said. "(The students) were ecstatic. Some of my seniors last year wanted to know if they could come back and sing."
Unfortunately for them that wasn't feasible, but the chorus members won't be alone as they travel to Cleveland this afternoon. More than 50 friends, family and community members are riding the bus as well to see their performance and stay for the game.
Having a few friendly faces in the crowd might be helpful, Gaughan said. At local basketball games, they've sung in front of much smaller crowds, most of whom they know, said Robert Henry, senior and four-year member of the chorus.
Fellow fourth-year senior Braxton Harter said practicing in different venues has helped the group prepare.
"We feel pretty confident," he said.
Still, nowhere the group has performed is as large as the Q.
"I'm not really sure what to expect," Harter said. "It's a whole new experience for all of us."
Nuzum said the chorus is up for the challenge.
"Preparing, it's made us stronger singers," she said. "I'm all the time trying to look for things that are different for the kids."
It's the first time a group from Warren has performed at a professional basketball game, but it may not be the last. Nuzum said now that the chorus has been booked for a performance they will be in the rotation for next season and beyond.
The local folks making the trip are the only ones who will be able to hear the performance live. The game is not airing on local radio because of a Marietta-Warren girls basketball game and an Ohio State game, and even if it was, the anthem is covered by a commercial break, said John Wharff, owner and president of WMOA 1490. However, WMOA plans to broadcast the anthem a couple of times on Thursday, and Wharff said people interested in a copy of the audio file can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.