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Spirit of Acadiana: Madi Conrad's journey toward the National Anthem

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Posted at 8:10 PM, Aug 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-19 00:10:29-04

“Oh, say can you see….”

Her name is Madi Conrad--- she’s 18 years old—a UL sophomore…

And we are talking to her because “…I sing the national anthem for the Astros!” she laughs enthusiastically.

And not only the national anthem---

“God bless America….”

…But ‘God Bless America’, too.

When she was about 14, Madi Conrad sent a recording of her version of the national anthem to some MLB and NFL Teams. And she sang at some UL sporting events, as well, events such as baseball, football and basketball.

“By the dawn’s early light…”

And then it was singing for the Houston Texans, the Texas Rangers and finally, the Houston Astros. Problem is, Covid-19 restrictions eliminated in-person games for fans at Minute Maid Park. Still, there was a solution.

“They emailed me and asked me to sing it virtually, so I recorded it here from my living room,” recalls Conrad. “We set it up, sent it in, and then they called and said, ‘Hey, can you come to Houston? We’d like to film you on the field and stuff, which was incredible!! An experience of a lifetime to walk on a MLB field in the middle of a global pandemic. It was a cool experience.“

“And the rockets’ red glare…”

The national anthem is a tough song, full of highs and lows, dramatic rises and drops, too. “Whenever you sing it live, you’re always thinking in the back of your head, ‘what if I forget this, what if I forget the words, what if I do this?’” she explains.

Two talented cousins played college baseball for UL, another was a professional umpire; yet Madi is the one who made it to the majors. “They used to pick on me because I was never any good at sports,” she laughs. “I just didn’t like any of them.”

“Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there…”

Her national anthem version will play a few times this season, and although she has a contract with the Astros this season, she doesn’t get paid in dollars and cents.

Her payment, says Madi Conrad, is in pride.

“Especially getting to represent Lafayette, going to Astros, Rangers and Texans games. It’s a huge honor for me, and I’ll always be grateful for that.”

“And the home of the brave…”

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