Singing the national anthem in front of a crowd of sports spectators is something many people have experienced, but it’s a much smaller number who have been asked to sing it to a crowd as large as those attending pro football games.
A singer with local ties was in fact offered that opportunity not long ago when the Indianapolis Colts met the Philadelphia Eagles in a preseason game.
The singer, who performs as Sophia Joelle, is the 15-year-old daughter of Dan and Jody (Sibbitt) Petts and the granddaughter of Paoli’s Alva and Judy Sibbitt. She is a sophomore at Zionsville High School and already has achieved success in the music business. I wrote about her in May when her song called “Irresistible” was featured in the movie “Mother’s Day”.
I asked her to recount how she ended up singing in front of a crowd of pro football game proportions — 65,487 people to be exact.
She reported that about a week before the game, she received an email asking if she would be interested in singing. “It was such an unexpected, awesome opportunity,” Sophia wrote in an email to me. “I was excited, but a little hesitant at first.” That was because, first of all, it is what she called “a technically difficult song” and beyond that, it would mark only her second time to perform it solo and “a cappella to boot.”
But, Sophia wrote, “I said yes, and then prayed every night that the lyrics would not escape me in the moment, as has happened to many a seasoned professional.”
It was the first pro football game she attended. Using what she said was an intended pun, Sophia wrote, “I am so thankful to my friends and family for encouraging me to tackle my fears and meet this challenge. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to honor our flag, our country and the men and women who serve, who have served and who died serving to protect us and our freedom.”
She also wrote, “It was an unforgettable experience and so much fun.”0