Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Pinellas man will get a chance to sing at the RNC

TAMPA — Walking onto a stage he last performed on more than 15 years ago, Ryan Julian tried to clear his mind.

He was used to the size of the crowd and the heat of the lights, but he couldn't settle that swell of nerves before the first note.

All he could do was redirect that nervous energy into something positive as he filled his lungs with air and unleashed that iconic opening phrase:

"Oh, say, can you see …"

Julian, 40, was one of four finalists auditioning Saturday for the opportunity to sing the national anthem at the Tampa Bay Host Committee's "Salute to the Military" private luncheon during the Republican National Convention.

His booming voice filled the auditorium in the David A. Straz Jr. Center for the Performing Arts.

"Wow," one woman said.

After three female voices — artistic, beautiful and gentle — Julian's voice hit the crowd like a train of sound, pushing through every note.

While the attentive audience had stayed respectfully quiet through the previous three performances, they were unable to hold back approval. Shouts, claps and cheers erupted as Julian sang out the last verse. As he delivered those final lines about bravery and freedom, the winner was clear.

The auditions were part of a pep rally for convention volunteers. The final four contenders were chosen after entering videos on Facebook.

As the host committee showed the crowd a video, thanked them for their service and announced that each volunteer would receive a free ticket to Busch Gardens, Julian was busy posting the news to Facebook.

"I won!!!!!! Thank you everyone for your votes and support."

Photos of him on stage and a closeup of the trophy dotted his Facebook page. For the Pinellas County real estate agent, it was a step back to the days of touring opera companies and performing before crowds throughout the South.

Julian spent a couple of years in his early 20s rising through the ranks, first as a stagehand and chorus member and ultimately as the title role in Don Pasquale. He has sung the national anthem for sporting events around Tampa Bay, but this would be an unprecedented opportunity to represent the area he's called home his whole life.

"The Tampa Bay area is near and dear to my heart," he said. "I'm excited to be able to represent our area at such a big, national event. Just to be able to promote this area, it's an amazing opportunity."

Since the host committee isn't a partisan organization, Julian prefers to keep his political beliefs quiet. But he is interested in the events of the convention itself and seeing how it will all relate to promoting the bay area.

For the man who first started singing in the St. Petersburg Boys Choir and discovered his love of opera while attending Seminole High School, singing the national anthem during the RNC is an ideal way for him to show his hometown pride and love for his country.

"I never got the opportunity to serve in the military," Julian said. "But to know you have the freedoms we enjoy and have the lives we live, you want to do something. This is my way to serve."

Caitlin Johnston can be reached at cjohnston@tampabay.com or (813) 225-3111.

Pinellas man will get a chance to sing at the RNC 08/11/12 [Last modified: Saturday, August 11, 2012 9:50pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Manahattan Casino choice causes political headache for Kriseman

    Growth

    ST. PETERSBURG — Days before the mayoral primary, Mayor Rick Kriseman's decision to let a Floribbean restaurant open in Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino has caused political angst within the voting bloc he can least afford to lose: the black community.

    Last week Mayor Rick Kriseman chose a Floribbean restaurant concept to fill Midtown's historic Manhattan Casino. But that decision, made days before next week's mayoral primary, has turned into a political headache for the mayor. Many residents want to see the building's next tenant better reflect its cultural significance in the black community. [JAMES BORCHUCK   |   Times]
  2. Bucs talk social issues, protests at team meeting

    Bucs

    TAMPA — Each time Dirk Koetter walks through the door of his office at One Buc Place, he passes by the only jersey framed on his wall.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans (13) wears custom cleats to represent Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) as part of the NFL???‚??„?s "My Cause, My Cleats Campaign" before the start of a football game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif., on Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016.
  3. UPS relocates express operations from St. Pete-Clearwater to TIA

    Airlines

    TAMPA — United Parcel Service Inc. is switching airports for its express air operations. Beginning in October, UPS will relocate from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport.

    Beginning in October, UPS will move from St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport to Tampa International Airport. [Associated Press file photo]

  4. St. Petersburg man shot in arm during home invasion robbery

    Crime

    ST. PETERSBURG — One man was arrested on charges he shot another man in the arm while attempting to rob a home in what St. Petersburg police are calling a drug-related incident.

    John Alam, 25, faces charges of home invasion robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a felon after deputies said he tried to rob a home Wednesday morning and ended up shooting someone. [Courtesy of Pinellas County Sheriff's Office]
  5. Bob Buckhorn, a mayor who knows what he wants, surveys constituents on what they want

    Local

    TAMPA — Focus has not been a problem — or really, even a question — during the six-plus years that Mayor Bob Buckhorn has been in office.

    Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn keeps a digital countdown clock in his office showing the days, hours. minutes and seconds until he is term-limited out of office on April 1, 2019. As of Wednesday, he had 584 days to go. [City of Tampa]