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Marysville's Keith Taylor turns a love for karaoke into an opportunity to sing at Safeco Field
MARYSVILLE — How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice.
How do you get to sing the National Anthem in front of 40,000 Mariners fans at Safeco Field? Karaoke.
That was the obscure route Marysville Firefighter Keith Taylor took to representing his country and his profession at Seattle Mariners games for the past three years.
“I started out going to karaoke with some friends and then I met some people and messed around with some bands,” Taylor, 39, said.
Taylor, who is celebrating his 20th year as a firefighter, has had no formal training in singing, but his voice impressed the Major League Baseball club enough to make him an honorary singer at the annual Firefighter Appreciation Night, where he performs both the anthem and “God Bless America” during the seventh inning. His most recent performance was Aug. 7 against the Kansas City Royals.
“It’s a phenomenal experience, I don’t even know how to explain it,” Taylor said about singing at Safeco Field. “I’m pretty patriotic so just those songs have a lot of meaning to me.”
A Marysville-Pilchuck graduate in 1989, Taylor joined the Air Force with a guarantee that he would have a firefighting job after leaving the service. He eventually moved back to Marysville and heard that the Mariners were looking for a policeman or fireman to sing the National Anthem in uniform for the five year observance of 9/11.
“They said they were accepting demo tapes and a bunch of my buddies at the department said I should go for it. So I did,” he said. “After the first time, I got to know some of the people in the Mariners’ PR and now we have a pretty good relationship.”
The first time Taylor performed, he admitted to being nervous.
“Oh yeah,” he said. “They had me come in early for a sound test a few hours before the game. And then there I was in front of the full stadium.”
Of course, other than meeting professional baseball players, there are other perks to singing the anthem. Taylor said he gets 12 tickets per game he sings at, and gets to take three people down on the field with him.
“I’ve gotten to take just about everyone down there,” he said. “The last time it was my wife and two of my boys.”
Although he still sings, Taylor admits that his karaoke days are behind him now.
“I’ve got a family with four boys and other responsibilities,” he said.