Greatest Performance of This Year’s NBA Finals: Marlana Vanhoose

It was Tuesday, June 16th, 2015.
Game 6 of the NBA Finals.
They were all there …
Steph, LeBron, past and present stars of the NBA …

It was moments before tip-off at sold-out Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.

Then, came the announcement: “Here to perform our National Anthem this evening, please welcome Marlana Vanhoose …”

It was one of those moments … when you knew you were experiencing something very special … but, didn’t know exactly why … it was just something I felt …

Yes, I was among the many, many, who witnessed this performance, and had to “find out more …” So, I did …

I am going to include this link to her website, “,” so that you can find out more … Please allow me to include these words from her “My Story” page:

“Marlana was born with Cytomegalovirus (CMV), by the time she was a few weeks old it was discovered that she was blind. Her optic nerve never formed. She was not expected to live past one year. At the age of two, Marlana was diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy.
But God knew better, He had special plans for Marlana. After Marlana turned a year old her body healed from the virus and that is when it all began. Marlana was humming “Jesus loves me” before she talked and by the time she was two years old she started playing the piano.
Marlana has invited Jesus into her heart and has been baptized. She loves God very much and says she has no need to see here on earth. She knows that when she gets to Heaven, Jesus will be the first face she’ll see.”

Here’s Marlana singing our National Anthem at Game 6 of the Finals:

Here’s a direct link to the website, where, “right off the bat,” you’ll see the words of Philippians 4:13, with the words “A Very Unique Soldier of God:”



Our National Anthem: When … Where … and Whitney

… It all started when I was thinking about our National Anthem … How often do we hear it? When do we hear it?

Really, what I was thinking was this: If it wasn’t for sporting events … when would we hear our National Anthem? In the middle of this, I had forgotten that a presentation of the reading of our Declaration of Independence was included as part of the pre-game festivities surrounding the televised Super Bowl, which “constituted” our last post.

Anyway … the whole idea was, how often do we see, hear, or read these great documents, from which our nation, and, yes, our way of life, sprang?

So, back to our National Anthem. When do we hear it? If it wasn’t for sporting events, would we ever hear it at all?
Yes, I agree that some schools do include the singing of our National Anthem as part of a daily or weekly schedule, usually placed around the reading of the “morning announcements.” I have worked in schools where the Pledge of Allegiance (another post coming up) was featured every day,
and then, the National Anthem would be featured once a week. I know, every school is different in how they do all of this.

So … as adults, if we didn’t go to live sports events, or didn’t watch sports on television … when would we hear our National Anthem? Where would we hear our National Anthem?

As adults, here in the United States, if we didn’t go to sports events, or watch them on television … would we ever hear our National Anthem?

I did considerable research on this. As an American author, including being the author of “The Eagle Still Flies (Under Star-Spangle Skies)-A New Anthem For America,” and having been honored to write many works with a patriotic theme, I am very much interested in all things patriotic …
I discovered that, yes, there is an existing “official code” for the
National Anthem of the United States of America. It was adopted by “The National Anthem Committee,” on April 2, 1942. Here’s what it says:

“The Star-Spangled Banner will be presented only in situations, programs, and ceremonies where its message can be effectively projected … it is of paramount importance that emphasis be placed upon the singing (italicized) of the Nation Anthem … Our National Anthem is customarily sung at the opening any any program … care should be taken to establish the correct pitch … The National Anthem should be sung at a moderate rate of speed … The statements herein relate to every mode of civilian performance of our National Anthem …”

Now … enter Whitney Houston:

I must be honest … yes, I must … ever since I got the idea for this post, I have had a particular version of the Nation Anthem saved … but, won’t, I can’t, use it here … I know, I know, when we think of the great versions of the Nation Anthem we’ve heard, we think of Whitney Houston … and, now, I know why …

You are thinking of the Super Bowl, back in 1991 … well, here is Whitney Houston singing our National Anthem, in Norfolk, Virginia (one of our favorite cities) … in front of the soldiers … at her “Welcome Home Heroes” concert … I had a lot of renditions of our National Anthems to choose from, but this one … from the first moments, I “felt” … enjoy!


Now … here is the performance, perhaps most known, from Super Bowl 25, on January 27, 1991 … It was the Buffalo Bills vs. the New York Giants, at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida … but, it (along with a certain kick) is most remembered for this:
As Wikipedia records:

“Because of the Gulf War situation, this marked the first time the Super Bowl would be telecast in most countries around the world. Outside of North America and England, this Super Bowl was broadcast for the first time in such countries as Australia, Russia, and most other countries. Whitney Houston performed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” backed by The Florida Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Jahja Ling. With America involved in the Gulf War,the positive response to the rousing performance was overwhelming, and it was released as a single and a video. It reached the number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 – making her the only act to turn the National Anthem into a pop hit of that magnitude.Houston’s rendition was critically acclaimed and largely regarded as one of the best renditions of the U.S. National Anthem in history.”