Windham girl to sing national anthem at track
WINDHAM — Thirteen-year-old Emma Joanis will sing the national anthem Sunday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway before an estimated 100,000 people who will watch the NASCAR Sprint Cup Race live or on television.
The Windham Middle School eighth-grader entered the “Speedway Star” singing contest for the honors at the Loudon track earlier this year.
A singer “for as long as she can remember,” Emma said her arena performances began in her hometown, when she was asked to sing the national anthem during a local Little League game.
“I sang for a bunch of little boys,” she said and laughed.
After earning thundering applause at her first appearance, Emma was invited to sing at all the local team's home games.
“They kept inviting me to come back. Finally someone asked my mom, 'Why don't you send a tape to Fenway Park.' So she did,” Emma said.
Last year, those efforts paid off when she sang “God Bless America” for the Boston Red Sox, followed by stints singing the national anthem for the Celtics and Bruins.
During the April competition in Loudon, Emma, the youngest contestant to take to the Speedway Star stage, quickly wowed the judges with her warm, earnest vocals.
“I'm so happy I won, and will be so excited when I look out into the stadium and see all those people,” Emma said.
Just don't ask her which car she's rooting for during this weekend's big race.
“Racing isn't something I'm exactly familiar with, but I'll still be so happy to be there,” Emma said.
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