By Jared Janzen
HALSTEAD—As familiar as the words of the National Anthem is the sound of Evyn Moore singing it at the start of the Old Settlers parade every year.
Moore’s first time singing the National Anthem was 2014 when she was a fourth grader, and the now 17-year-old high school senior has done it ever since.
“It kind of started because I sang in the school talent show,” she said. “It was the first time I’d ever sang in public.”
After that performance, Alex Williams approached her about singing during the parade.
“When I first started, I was super nervous,” she said. “My first performance wasn’t the best; I remember that. It was obviously a little more rough than it is now. But I was blessed and honored to be able to start at that young of an age with this and still get to do it today.”
Moore said that every year the performance has gotten a little easier.
“I mean, I’m still a little nervous, even going into this year, but as I’ve grown it’s gotten easier,” she said.
She practices a lot to get ready for the big day, including spending extra time with her vocal coach, Claire Clifford. Typically, Moore sang the anthem the same way each year, but this time she mixed it up a bit.
“Normally, it was a lot more basic than what I’m doing this year just because when I started, I didn’t really know how to sing that well,” she said. “I was just told, ‘you’re a good singer,’ so I was like, ‘OK, I’ll do it.’ But now my voice is matured and I’ve figured out how to do it.”
Moore is part of Halstead High School’s choir and Bel Canto. She’s sung the National Anthem as a solo at a few high school basketball games.
Singing isn’t Moore’s only role in the parade. She also walks with the high school’s cheer and dance teams. This caused a problem her freshman year.
“Once we got to a certain point, I had to run up to where the microphone was and I was out of breath,” she said. “That was the worst year, probably, because I didn’t have it planned out well.”
People were still supportive and encouraging to her after the tough performance, she said.
She’s learned to wake up early on parade morning, warm up her voice, check in with the sound guys and make a smoother transition into singing.
This was Moore’s eighth and possibly final time singing for the parade because next year she’ll be finished with high school.
“I would assume so,” she said. “I don’t when I’ll be moving into college, but I assume it’ll be around this time and I might not be in town. I mean, I don’t want it to be. I would enjoy continuing. But at the same time, it may be time after this year for me to pass it on to somebody else.”
Her younger sister, Emry, a soon-to-be seventh grader, may be a possible replacement.
“That would be really cool,” Moore said.
She had some words of advice when it comes to singing the National Anthem in front of a crowd.
“It’s nerve wracking, yeah, because there are a lot of people, but don’t be super nervous because there are all these people who support you and even the years when you don’t do the best, they’re still going to tell you that you did awesome,” she said. “Just being up there in general takes guts and I think a lot of people understand that, so don’t be so hard on yourself.”
Moore plans to pursue musical theater in college so she can continue singing.