'3 minutes of eternity' at Oriole Park

July 12, 1992|By Alisa Samuels | Alisa Samuels,Staff Writer

Three minutes at Oriole Park at Camden Yards Monday night remains a blur, "a fuzz," to Columbia resident Donna M. $l Greenwald, who attracted 45,990 pairs of eyes -- and ears.

After doing the unthinkable -- drinking a soft drink before singing -- and battling a case of strep throat, Mrs. Greenwald belted out the national anthem a cappella before the masses at the new ballpark. The Orioles defeated the Chicago White Sox 4-3, in 14 innings.

Six months ago, she sent the Orioles public affairs department an audition audio cassette. In late May she learned she had been selected, and after practicing once in the stadium, she took center stage last Monday.

"It was a moment that stood still. You could hear a pin drop," Mrs. Greenwald said of her performance. "It was three minutes of eternity."

Singing at dinner theaters, her usual gig, couldn't compare, she said.

"It still feels like a dream, a fuzz, like your wedding day," said the 30-something singer and mother of two. "Somebody could pinch you, and I don't think you'd feel it, because the adrenalin is so strong."

Caught up in the excitement that night, she said, "The Bird was right in front of me, and I walked right into him. He fell to the ground." She said she learned later the Orioles' mascot had staged the fall.

"I thought I did great," said Mrs. Greenwald, whose family gave her kudos. "I really did feel like a star that night."

"She did a very nice job," said Amy Nelson, assistant to the Orioles public affairs director. "Everyone cheered."

If she could relive that night, Mrs. Greenwald said she'd be strep-throat-free and would've brought her own water. There was no source of water in the VIP room during pregame activities for the singer to soothe her sore throat. She explained carbonated beverages interfere with a singer's toning.

Singing the national anthem at a game is something Mrs. Greenwald said she's longed to do for eight years after attending sporting events with her husband.

By Aug. 1, she'll know if she can sing at a Washington Redskins game. The Frederick Keys, an Orioles minor-league team, has asked her to sing July 20 for them.

The minor-league team wants a live singer. "They're sick and tired of the [taped] Whitney Houston version," Mrs. Greenwald said.

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