Thursday September 29, 2005

Oh, Say Can You Sing (or Play)?

Now is your chance to belt out "The Star Spangled Banner" before a Flyers game. Auditions are Oct. 8.

As director of the University of Dayton's pep band, Willie Morris III has fielded hundreds of calls from people wanting to stand behind the microphone and belt out "The Star Spangled Banner" before Flyer contests.

Now's your chance.

Auditions for singers, groups and instrumentalists are slated Saturday, Oct. 8, starting at 10 a.m. in the UD Arena. Those interested in auditioning are invited to fill out a short online application available here. Audition times will be assigned for the first 100 applicants. Those trying out should come dressed in performance attire, according to Morris, who hand-picked performers in the past.

At least 40 slots are available for men's and women's basketball games and other athletic contests, said Morris, who teaches saxophone performance and directs the Dayton Jazz Ensemble at UD. A panel of judges will select the winning performers, who will receive free tickets "and all the esteem that goes with performing in public," he said.

Thousands of Flyer men's basketball fans know Morris as the energetic, spontaneous leader of the spirited UD pep band, which he modestly advertises as "the best damn pep band in the land."

Do these auditions mean Flyer fans will not be treated to his always-popular, soulful rendition of the national anthem on the saxophone?

Anticipating the question, he said, "I'm already down for one of the openings."

Contact Willie Morris at (937) 229-3994.