ST. LOUIS - The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and St. Louis Blues announced the winner of their National Anthem auditions today.
A panel of judges selected Matt Pentecost, a music teacher at the Maplewood-Richmond Heights School District Early Childhood Center, to perform The Star-Spangled Banner at a Blues home game during the 2018-19 season.
The audition was part of an ongoing partnership between the SLSO and Blues.
Pentecost, 34, competed against dozens of contestants from the St. Louis region following a video application phase, which generated more than 100 entries. Auditions for the finalists were held at Powell Hall on August 25. Vocalists and an instrumental trio competed for the opportunity. Prolific Blues National Anthem Singer Charles Glenn, SLSO musician Gerry Pagano, St. Louis Symphony Chorus Director Amy Kaiser, and James Bertels, who was a winner of the inaugural contest in 2017-18, judged the competition.
"I was in all the music programs at school that I could be in. Now I'm in my ninth year of leading music education at the early childhood center in Maplewood. I know my students will think this is the most amazing thing ever!" said Pentecost.
"The competition was tough. We heard such great talent in the auditions. Matt stayed true to the anthem and we could feel his personality come through his performance. The judges unanimously agreed he was our winner," said Bertels.
Pentecost will perform the National Anthem before the Blues take on the San Jose Sharks on Nov. 9, 2018 at 7 p.m.