Naval Academy midshipmen will sing for thousands at the Preakness this Saturday.
Male and female members of the glee club will sing the state song "Maryland, My Maryland" prior to the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. This is the club's 19th year performing at the event.
Midshipman First Class Robert Paul will perform the national anthem in the morning, said Aaron Smith, director and chairman of the academy's musical activities department.
The club maintains a small roster of midshipmen who perform "The Star-Spangled Banner" at special events throughout the year, Smith said. This year, only eight were selected. Paul was selected to be a soloist at the Preakness after being on the list for all four years at the academy.
Musically, the anthem is a difficult piece, Smith said.
"Add to that the incredible pressure involved in singing completely alone, in front of hundreds, thousands, or at times millions of people. Now add the fact that our midshipmen are in uniform, representing not only the Naval Academy, but wearing the cloth of the nation," he said. "We keep it to our very best."