JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A Jacksonville man is preparing to take the field Thursday night, not as a player, but to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Alec Hadden done it before, but never with a national audience watching and listening.
“One, two, three, check, check,” Hadden read into a microphone in the First Coast News audio booth.
He closes his eyes, takes a breath and launches into the national anthem: “Oh say can you see by the dawn's early light,” Hadden sang.
The 24 year-old’s booming voice will soon be heard over Everbank Field's speakers.
Thursday will be his third time leading the National Anthem for his hometown Jaguars. He recalls his first time singing on the field before the 20th anniversary game. However, this time will be different. Hadden is preparing to make his national television debut.
“It puts a little more butterflies in my stomach, but you just have to drown that stuff out,” Hadden said.
He is a voiceover artist and actor by day, and he only started singing professionally about seven years ago. Hadden’s practice includes reading the words carefully. Enunciating each syllable. When it comes time to take the field, he eases his gaze and goes from memory.
“You have to be true to the meaning behind it and the patriotism behind the song,” Hadden said.
All of that building-up to the final few words.
“O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave,” he sang.
Hadden will be here a few hours before kickoff, he said part of his routine is drinking several glasses of water to ensure his voice doesn’t crack when it matters the most.