They represented all genres of music: Broadway, country, R&B, instrumental, a cappella, folk, rock.
And their voices filled Powell Hall on August 24 with the most patriotic song in the United States: The Star-Spangled Banner.
The St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and the Stanley Cup Champion St. Louis Blues hosted their third annual National Anthem contest to discover a new anthem singer for a Blues home game during the 2019/2020 season.
Nearly 300 people (and groups) submitted an application to the contest. Thirty acts were invited to the finals audition in Powell Hall to be evaluated by a panel of judges from the St. Louis Blues and St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, including: Charles Glenn, former Blues anthem singer; James Bertels, winner of the inaugural contest; Kennedy Holmes, St. Louis native and fourth place finisher on NBC's The Voice in 2018; St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus Director Kevin McBeth; and SLSO musician Gerry Pagano.
At the conclusion of the contest, a quartet of high school trombone players were selected as the winners. Praised for their bluesy rendition of the National Anthem, the quartet will perform in front of thousands at a Blues home game this season. Winners were Thomas Gustafson, a sophomore at Clayton High School; Daniel Jung, a senior at Ladue Horton Watkins High School; Geoffrey Ladue, a senior at Lafayette High School; and Evan Smith, a senior at O'Fallon Township High School.
Gustafson, 15, took inspiration from several performances of the anthem to arrange his own original version.
Check out some additional photos from the anthem contest below:
And check out a video of the some of the finalists: