‘This is on my bucket list!’ says top winner of Dayton Dragons National Anthem tryouts

The singer chosen to lead “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the Dayton Dragons Opening Day game can check one big item off her bucket list.

“I always wanted to sing the national anthem at a sporting event at a big level,” Yolanda Drake of Jefferson Twp. said. “This is on my bucket list!”

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More than 200 people auditioned to perform at one of 70 home games. Drake took the top spot on Opening Day and will sing the national anthem in front of a sell-out crowd April 7 at Fifth Third Field. The Dragons will host the Bowling Green Hot Rods at 7 p.m. as they open their 19th season in Dayton. The Dragons are the Midwest League affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.

Drake isn’t new to winning singing contests. She also won the Dayton Soul Singer search and performed in January with the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra at the Schuster Performing Arts Center.

On most weekends, Drake performs alongside her husband, Lamar “Marty” Drake in their band LYD, which stands for Live Your Dream. They sing at festivals, top restaurants and private functions across the country, and have opened for musical legends including Chuck Berry, Sister Sledge, Alex Bugnon and a host of others, she said.

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She has experience singing the national anthem. She was often asked to perform before football and basketball games, and even graduation, for Jefferson Township High School, where her three sons graduated.

“Music is a universal language,” Drake said. “I’m going to do it as long as I can do it, as long as I’m able.”

Look for a more in-depth interview with Drake closer to the Dragons Opening Day. 

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