BRIDGEWATER, NJ - Dozens of performers dazzled the judges at Bridgewater Commons Saturday afternoon with their renditions of Broadway show stoppers, pop tunes, country songs and classic rock, hoping to outdo the competition for the opportunity to sing the National Anthem this summer at TD Bank Ballpark.
A steady stream of hopefuls, including vocalists, a guitarist, saxophonist and a young girl singing to the accompaniment of a ukulele each had 90 seconds to convince the judges to give them a second chance to compete in the finals.
Young and old, they came from Bridgewater, Somerville, Hillsborough and other towns in Somerset County, as well as the Jersey shore, northern New Jersey, Long Island and Pennsylvania.
The Somerset Patriots hosted the annual National Anthem audition with seven weeks to go until opening day May 1st.
The list of finalists will be narrowed down to 10 contestants, each of whom will be invited to the ballpark prior to the start of the season to perform the National Anthem for another set of judges. Winners will be added to the list of vocalists and musicians who will perform the Star Spangled Banner before each of the team's 70 home games.
The Patriots were joined by co-hosts WMGQ, 98.3 FM, and sister station WCTC, 1450 AM and Operation Shoebox New Jersey. Each performer paid a $10 fee, with the Patriots turning over the money to the non-profit organization, which sends personal care packages to US troops deployed around the world.