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April 11, 2017


I walked by the student section for the Gamecocks, and they all treated me like I was some kind of rock star.

Aurie Engel Schmieding


“I wasn’t really as nervous as I thought I would be. When I first walked out there, that’s when the nerves definitely kicked in.

I tried not to look around because I thought that might make me more nervous. The guy who was directing us said `just look at me when you sing,’ and he was standing right behind the camera. I just tried to focus on him. When they announced us though, they wanted us to look around and wave. That’s when I said `wow, there are definitely a lot of people here.’

When I was singing, I was just trying to think about what my part was and not messing up the words. I never really thought about all the people who were staring at me.

Luckily, I have never forgotten the words to the national anthem. I can remember song lyrics like no other. I might struggle with school work sometimes, but song lyrics, I tend to never forget.

When I found out I’d be doing this, I was speechless. When Coach Boo Major told me I’d have the opportunity to sing the national anthem at the Final Four, I thought that this would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. With our men’s basketball team making the Final Four for the first time in program history, I thought, wow, what an honor.

I’ve performed the national anthem a handful of times. I’ve done it when I was in high school, but never for anything with this kind of setting. When I was in high school, I played in a little band and we played small events around Charleston. I did church choir and things like that.

This was definitely the most exciting and biggest thing I’ve ever done. This was definitely the biggest stage I ever performed. Once I found out it was a `go,’ my heart never stopped racing. It was super exciting.

When it was over, I realized I just did this in front of 77,000 people. I didn’t know if it was any good or if it was bad. Everyone was super supportive. I walked by the student section for the Gamecocks, and they all treated me like I was some kind of rock star. That was super cool.

When it was done, they escorted me down to where our band was seated, and I got to sit in courtside seats right in front of Cocky.

I think the best part was meeting those girls from the different schools and getting to connect with them. I think I have some friends from different schools now, which is pretty cool.

I have never performed the national anthem for any of our school’s sporting events here. After this, I would definitely love an opportunity to do that, but we’ll see what happens down the road.”