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Unique double-double: ESPN publicist soars as Champions Classic anthem singer

NEW YORK – ESPN publicist Anna Negron’s college basketball responsibilities got a bit loftier Tuesday night at the Champions Classic at Madison Square Garden.

A former Garden intern who has been singing the national anthem since she was a student at Seton Hall, Negron was asked to open the festivities with her amazing rendition from center court (see video above).

Before taking the floor yesterday, Negron had plenty to do as part of her day job. She facilitated interviews with ESPN college basketball analysts Seth Greenberg and Jay Bilas, and used social media to promote the College Football Playoff: Top 25 show that aired from a Garden suite. Somehow, she managed to squeeze in a flawless rehearsal in between her ESPN work.

It was all in a day and night’s work for Negron, who spoke with Front Row about her memorable experience:

I didn’t expect the reaction that I got, but it was really cool to experience my two worlds colliding. I’ve been singing for years at the Garden, but at that moment, I was singing in front of a sold-out crowd, on the network I work for, in front of my coworkers.
– Anna Negron

When did you find out you were going to have two jobs Tuesday night?
I was asked to sing a few weeks ago and figured I’d help out since I was going to be there anyway. I’m very much used to the fast-paced nature of sports, so I just had to make sure I had my schedule in order before arriving so I knew where I had to be and when.

Have you had a similar experience before, transitioning from your primary job to singing in the same venue?
There was an instance before when I interned at the Garden — I worked in the office during the day and then sang in the evening, but never both at the same time.

How long did you rehearse?
Soundcheck is typically about 5-10 minutes. I touched base with the folks at MSG, and they ran through the pregame schedule with graphics/announcement, and then cued me for my soundcheck. Matt Mendez and Damian Santucci, who work on the event staff at the Garden, both use a stopwatch to time my performance and walk around different parts of the arena to make sure it sounds OK. I try to keep it just under a minute, 30 seconds.

I think what was so unique – and a little funny – about this was that the commentators we work with on a regular basis had no idea that I could sing. At the end of the day, I am still very much a fan of the game, so getting high fives from [ESPN analysts] Rece Davis, Jay Williams, Jay Bilas, Kirk Herbstreit and Joey Galloway was pretty awesome. – Negron

Did everything go as planned?
Everything went great. I didn’t expect the reaction that I got, but it was cool to experience my two worlds colliding. I’ve been singing for years at the Garden, but at that moment, I was singing in front of a sold-out crowd, on the network I work for, in front of my coworkers.

I think what was so unique – and a little funny – about this was that the commentators we work with on a regular basis had no idea that I could sing. At the end of the day, I am still very much a fan of the game, so getting high fives from [ESPN analysts] Rece Davis, Jay Williams, Jay Bilas, Kirk Herbstreit and Joey Galloway was pretty awesome.

I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to display my talent on a national platform and honor my country.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Many sang Anna Negron’s praises on social media. Here’s a sampling:

https://twitter.com/I_Am_Andy113/status/798678937819840513

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