He took a brief second to pause. Then Haugabrooks sang out the words “For the land of the free,” and that was all it took for the audience to burst into rapturous applause.
Haugabrooks had been invited to sing the National Anthem at the start of Wednesday night’s Game Day between the Orlando Magic and the New Orleans Hornets. And while the crowd turned out for a sports match — in a very close game that found the Hornets pulling out a narrow 97-94 win — the rousing applause given to Haugabrooks as he sang the National Anthem demonstrated that music and visual entertainment play as much a part of the Amway experience as the basketball players do.
Haugabrooks is a gospel singer well known for his distinctive tenor voice that interprets familiar songs with a great degree of intensity and passion, and he’s released albums that include “God’s Touch Through You” and “One Step Closer.”
His performance, and the strong reaction it drew from the audience, was a clear indication of just how diverse the entertainment is during a Magic game. If a passionate gospel singer opens the show, what follows often goes in very different directions. Continue reading