Who Is Performing the National Anthem at the Sugar Bowl Between Texas and Washington?

    The Sugar Bowl will feature a special rendition of the national anthem. Find out who is performing before the playoff semifinal on New Year's Day.

    The Sugar Bowl is the home of the College Football Playoff semifinal between Texas and Washington, a showcase game for the sport. The contest will come with all the usual pageantry that you would associate with the College Football Playoffs, including a special performance of the national anthem, a halftime show, and a postgame show.

    Who Is Singing the National Anthem at the Sugar Bowl?

    The national anthem at the Sugar Bowl will be sung by Mark-Anthony Thomas, a performer from the New Orleans area. Thomas is a jazz and opera performer but also a teacher.

    Thomas is a member of the New Orleans Opera Association Chorus and is a big name in the jazz scene in Louisiana.

    The plan is for Thomas’ rendition to be unique, with him saying, “My performance will be a mix of opera and jazz. “I’m a classically trained singer who embraces a technique, but I love other styles as well, so you’ll hear aspects of it all.”

    The national anthem will be presented by Vet Tix, which “provides tickets to events which reduce stress, strengthen family bonds, build life-long memories and encourage service members and veterans to stay engaged with local communities and American life.”

    While Thomas might not be a household name, if you are familiar with the New Orleans music scene, you may recognize some of his family. His cousin, Sam Williams, is Big Sam from Big Sam’s Funky Nation. Meanwhile, his brother, Myron Thomas, plays keys for the Brass-A-Holics.

    On whether he is looking forward to performing the national anthem before the playoff semi-final, Thomas shared, “I’ve performed the anthem many times, including at a lot of Pelicans games, but the Superdome is different. It’s a little more intimidating, but it’s a thrill.”

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    As well as being a performer, Thomas is also involved in teaching and is the Arts Pastor at Vintage Church New Orleans.

    On why he loves teaching so much, Thomas said, “ I teach a lot of people, and it’s unbelievable how many things they believe about themselves that aren’t true – I want to help change them to find their true selves.”

    While Thomas is singing the national anthem, the American flag will be held by a group of teachers from the local area.

    The Sugar Bowl partners with the College Football Playoff Foundation to support teachers.

    Jeff Hundley, the chief executive officer of the Allstate Sugar Bowl, said, “Teachers have always been the lifeblood of education, recognizing that, we’ve had the good fortune to work with the CFP Foundation and local education leaders to formulate a strategy which focuses on recruiting, retaining, and recognizing teachers.”

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