Sept. 12, 2012
WASHINGTON - Prior to every home game, the women's lacrosse team goes through its typical pregame warm-ups. It begins with a stretch and eventually moves into passing and shooting drills as everyone warms up their bodies. For senior goalkeeper Abby Bisbee (Baltimore, Md./Bryn Mawr School), she has one more warm-up to think about, her voice.
For almost 10 seasons, the Georgetown women's lacrosse program has had players showcasing their voices prior to the game. Schuyler Sutton (C'07) and Megan Bloomer (B'09) were just two of the student-athletes who belted out the Star Spangled Banner at home games prior to the opening draw.
Bisbee arrived on campus already a talented performer studying at the world famous Peabody Institute in Baltimore, Md. She was a vocalist with the Peabody Chamber Singers and a member of the Peabody Children's Chorus making guest appearances with the Baltimore Opera, the Choral Arts Society and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. She was also a three-time recipient of the Peabody Award for Vocal Excellence.
Her teammates soon realized her talent both as a goalkeeper and singing in the locker room before games and she was quickly anointed as the next anthem singer.
It means before every game as she prepares for the contest, she also warms up her voice and mentally prepares for the performance. While it might have been a distraction as a freshman, it has become a part of her pregame routine.
"Going out on the field is kind of like a performance and, for me, when I sing is when I'm most comfortable," Bisbee said. "I am so nervous before, but as soon as I start I'm so much more relaxed."
Bisbee made her debut early her freshman season and has been the national anthem headliner ever since. Her talents have been noticed by others as she has been asked to perform the anthem at both men's basketball and women's basketball games and she will perform at the 2012 senior day football game.
"I remember Ricky asked me two days before our first game freshman year and I had never sung the national anthem," she said. "I went online and looked up Whitney Houston and studied everything she did because she was so inspirational when she sang at the Super Bowl. When I got out to the field, I was so scared I couldn't even keep the microphone stable."
On Thursday, Bisbee will take her talents to Camden Yards to fulfill a lifelong dream performing the national anthem before the Baltimore Orioles take on the Tampa Bay Rays. A Georgetown alum heard her at a lacrosse game and the Orioles contacted her this summer about performing at a game.
"I found out when I was at work in New York and I screamed in the middle of a quiet office, it was a dream come true."
As a Baltimore native, Bisbee will be performing on hallowed ground.
"Singing for the Orioles means a lot more than just singing for me," she said. "My dad's worked at Camden Yards my entire life and I remember going to see Cal Ripken Jr. when I was younger. Singing in the middle of the field will be incredible. The Orioles and hopefully someday the Ravens would be a dream come true. "
As a senior, Bisbee's future plans are currently in motion, but she knows she wants to keep singing as a part of her life.
"This has given me the chance to do both things I love. I get to play lacrosse and I get to pursue a dream. I'll never be able to stop singing but everyone always asks when I'm going to do a singing show. I'm a diehard The Voice fan, so you never know."