Trick question: Who is the first Bedford High School graduate to make it all the way from Sabourin Field to Fenway Park?
It’s Catherine Donato, class of 2014, who will be singing “The Star-Spanged Banner” just before the Red Sox-Braves game Wednesday around 7 p.m. – just as she did for most of four seasons of BHS football.
(OK, so the normal trajectory isn’t from Sabourin Field to Fenway Park. There’s no baseball played at Sabourin Field. But you get the idea – it’s about music.)
“This has been a dream of mine for a long time,” Donato declared. “Singing for a Boston team has literally been my goal since I was a kid.”
Donato sang the national anthem at most BHS home football games from 2010 through 2013, often taking time out from her waitressing shift at Café Luigi for the gig.
Six years ago, she sent a recording of her performing the song to Red Sox officials, following directions on the website, hoping for an audition. She would check in from time to time, but when the Covid-19 pandemic postponed the start of the 2020 season, the prospect moved to the back burner.
Then last week she got a call, “and he asked me if I was available for tomorrow’s game.” Tuesday morning she was at the ballpark for a soundcheck.
“The hardest part is to not listen to yourself. You hear the note and then you let it go,”she observed. There’s another factor – “I had to get used to the stadium echo. That echo is pretty wild. Now I know what to expect.”
Donato, a nursing student at Middlesex Community College, is a professional singer with a seven-member wedding band called KB3. One of the musicians is Jim Felker, director of instrumental music for the Bedford schools, and the teacher whom Donato said first took her love of music to the next level as a John Glenn Middle School general music teacher.
She gave “a huge shoutout” to all the music teachers in the school system. “If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have come this far,” she said. “I met and made so many connections through BHS music.” Donato was a lead in the 2014 high school musical “Anything Goes.”
Some school districts are cutting back on performing arts, she noted, but “I want people to know how important music was for me. And nobody works harder than the Bedford schools’ Music Department.”
The pandemic has been rough on the KB3 band, she said, but now “we have 33 weddings booked for this season.”
Donato said the Red Sox gave her four tickets for tomorrow’s game. Unlike her high school days, she won’t have to rush back to Café Luigi’s after performing the anthem.
Mike Rosenberg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 781-983-1763