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Wednesday, August 5,2009

Sing it

English teacher takes top prize in City Pulse singing contest

by Eric Czarnik

How do you get to Oldsmobile Park? Practice, practice, practice, if you’re going there to sing the National Anthem — which Eder DeLaCruz is as the winner of City Pulse’s first “Oh, Say, Can You Sing” contest.

City Pulse asked readers to submit videos of themselves singing the National Anthem earlier this summer for a chance to belt out the tune before an upcoming Lansing Lugnuts game. The entries were then posted at www. lansingcitypulse.com for visitors to vote for their favorite performances.

“I’m a teacher, so the summer is for different little projects,” DeLaCruz, of St. Johns, said. “I thought I might as well give it a shot.”


DeLaCruz, a 32-year-old DeWitt High School English teacher, who submitted one of five entries, was the clear favorite.
He received 550 votes, more than half of the total ballots cast in our contest and more than double what our second-place finisher received.

While his talent is apparent from the video he submitted (watch it at www.lansingcitypulse.com), a proactive get-outthe-vote campaign probably didn’t hurt.


“I definitely did several waves of Facebook; I put it on there as a link about once a week,” DeLaCruz said. “I thought it’d be fun for my friends. There’s nothing they have to buy, and they get to see something else online.”

DeLaCruz recorded himself singing The National Anthem in his bathroom (“It has the best acoustics”) on his cell phone. After uploading it to YouTube, he added a few candid comments, a la VH1’s “Pop-Up Video,” to the video before and after the song. He wasn’t sure of his chances of winning, but he thought it would be fun to try.


“It’s just a little thing, but it’s cool to get involved in whatever opportunities are out there,” he said. “I think that’s cool and hopefully other people will get that chance to do that.”


As for the his future in music, DeLaCruz said he has his hands full September through June with work and family, but he thinks it would be fun to DJ or join a band for the summers. Between now and Aug. 17, when DeLaCruz will take the field to sing, he’ll take as many passes through “The Star Spangled Banner” as he can get in.


“I have to start low, because of that high note,” he said. “Figuring out exactly where it will be comfortable is kind of different dayto-day, depending on the weather.”


DeLaCruz has some experience singing in front of crowds in church and as a member of the Accafellas during his days as an MSU student in the ‘90s. He also did the anthem once before a high school soccer match in Birmingham, where he used to teach. But he still figures he’ll be anxious when it’s time to step up to the microphone.

“This is probably going to be the biggest venue I’ve ever sung at,” DeLaCruz said. “I’m trying to just be cool until the day of, and then I’ll probably be very nervous.”

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