50 finalists audition to sing at Dodger Stadium on ‘Mormon Night'

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SALT LAKE CITY -- Fifty singers gave it their all for the chance to sing the national anthem at Dodger Stadium on "Mormon Night." Though the event takes place in Los Angeles, the auditions happened in Salt Lake.

"The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is actually the largest group client of the Los Angeles Dodgers. We bring more supporters out than anybody else. So, as a result, we're invited to provide the National Anthem once a year," said Sonja Eddings Brown, organizer of the open auditions.

This year, the auditions were opened to Latter-day Saints across the country. More than 500 applied; now it's down to 50.

"I'm not Simon. It's not ‘American Idol,' which is kind of a really good thing. And I think we're really looking for two things: Do they have chops? Can they technically do it? But way more important to me is the heart," said audition judge Michael McLean.

"I just have to remind myself to breathe, because my endorphins start kickin' in at the last minute and I start shaking," said Rachel Christensen Thomas, of Alliance, Neb.

Michele Baer, of Mesa, Ariz., said, "My husband thought I was crazy. He said, ‘You'll never make it. There's a lot of talent, and they're much younger than you too.' Honestly, he said that."

Contestants have come from as far away as New York, Tennessee, Oregon and Texas, because it's about more than singing the National Anthem. The winner will receive $1,500, VIP seating at the game and an audition for Deseret Book's Shadow Mountain Records.

The Los Angeles Dodgers will chose six and on game night will announce the winner who steps forward and sings.

The annual "Mormon Night" at Dodger Stadium this year is Aug. 6.

E-mail: cmikita@ksl.com

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