TBT: Chris Botti’s National Anthem Moves NFL Player to Tears

Image of Chris Botti above is from anthony_goto on Flickr.

By Phillip Martin

This past week, I shared news about Brian Culbertson performing the U.S. National Anthem at a public event for his first time. Today, on this Throwback Thursday (TBT), I’d like to follow that up by looking back on Chris Botti’s evocative rendition of the anthem nearly 18 months ago.

On Nov. 3, 2014, Botti had performed “The Star-Spangled Banner” before a Monday Night Football game between the Indianapolis Colts and the New York Giants. There, at Metlife Stadium, now-retired star Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne cried to the performer’s delicate trumpet notes. Wayne’s tears garnered national attention among various media outlets and also caught my attention the next day.

ABC News later captured Wayne speaking with the press after that game. The receiver, 35 years old at the time, said he cried because he was thankful for all of his years playing in the NFL.

Although ESPN cameras caught Wayne’s unbridled tears, Botti later told an Indiana news station he too felt moved by his performance. Upon opening the link to the station’s website, you can hear all the trumpeter had say about the experience. You can also discover that he attended Indiana University’s music school over 30 years ago before dropping out and touring with Frank Sinatra. (I am not sure if Botti is rooting for the Hoosier’s men’s basketball team in this year’s ongoing NCAA Tournament. I am equally unsure if he is a Colts fan.)

The story especially caught my attention because I have listened to some of Botti’s music on Spotify and on YouTube videos. The trumpeter mainly plays a traditional style of jazz. Some could even classify his style as more of a jazzy twist on classical music. (You’ll know more of what I’m talking about here if you listen to his version of “Gabriel’s Oboe” or watch him performing with the Boston Pops on YouTube.)

Although Botti performs a more old-school style of jazz, he has played on smooth jazz songs, such as “Secret Affair” by Culbertson and “Work Song” by Eric Marienthal. The trumpet player has also performed a few nice-sounding contemporary jazz pieces, such as “Regroovable” and “Blue Horizon.”

One final thing to note about Botti is that he won a Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Album in 2o13. He has earned four other Grammy nominations during his career.


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