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July 13, 2018
David Johnson can thank the American Legion post in his hometown of Estelline for recognizing an untapped talent that this weekend will put him front and center at a Minnesota Twins game.
“About 25 years ago, they asked me to sing (the national anthem) at the state baseball tournament,” said Johnson, who spends most of his non-singing time as CEO of Reliabank.
“I sang it and had a bunch of Legionnaires compliment on it, and I thought that’s kind of neat.”
Musical ability is in his DNA. His grandmother was the town’s music teacher, instructing in piano and violin, and his mother was a choir director for more than 45 years. He sang in the choir while at Augustana University.
So ever since that debut decades ago, Johnson has made it a hobby to ask if he can sing at sporting events. He’s performed at Augustana games, and last year the university invited him to an alumni event that included spring training for the Twins in Florida. Augustana staff members offered to ask the Twins if he could sing the national anthem there.
“They sort of surprised me by saying yes without auditioning,” he said.
But it wasn’t quite that simple. For five weeks, he was scheduled to sing at the last spring training game — until a player’s daughter asked to sing on the same date.
The Twins are making it up to him, though. At Saturday’s game at Target Field, he’ll sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” to start the game.
His family members – wife, kids, grandkids and siblings – are planning to be in the audience. His wife, Jan, estimates there will be 50 in the cheering section — both for their love of baseball and hearing her husband serenade the crowd.
“I always say that I’m prejudiced, but I think Dave has a beautiful voice,” she said. “I am proud of him and thrilled that he has this opportunity.”
Update: Watch Johnson sing the national anthem at the July 14, 2018, Twins game.
He’s a bank CEO most of the time, but he can carry a tune too. And this Saturday, his talent will take him to Target Field.