Not only did April 3 mark Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant’s last time playing a game against the Boston Celtics, but also a first for one California Baptist University alumna – a chance to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the Staples Center.
Morgan Teruel, career counselor and 2014 alumna, followed her passion of musical performance and sent in an audition tape to several sports teams last June. At the end of March, she heard the news she had been selected to perform for the Lakers vs. Celtics game.
Teruel references her time at CBU as significant in helping her prepare for this occasion. Before receiving her degree in music education, she participated in multiple on-campus music groups, including University Choir and Orchestra, Chamber Singers, Choral Union and small performing groups.
“Experiencing those growth moments in front of others through those performance experiences helped me to feel more equipped going into this,” she said.
Teruel said she has sung “The Star-Spangled Banner” more than 100 times at different events throughout high school and college.
Before, however, she was only performing for at most 2,000. At the game, she performed in front of 20,000.
“I actually tried to almost detach emotionally from it because I didn’t want to fully soak it in, knowing that would make me totally scared,” she said.
She stylized her performance but also made sure to keep it traditional.
“For me, I just wanted to be respectful of the song that has stood the test of time and represents a country that has been very strong in history,” she said.
Teruel’s husband Mike, her brother-in-law Jared Prins, alumnus, and her friend McKay Vandenberg, junior English and journalism and new media double major, had a chance to attend the game, as well.
“She walked out on the court, showed everyone up and walked off like a boss,” Vandenberg said. “This experience reflects on CBU’s ability to help prepare students for whatever God may bring to you in life.”