ST. LOUIS, MO - On Wednesday, the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and St. Louis Blues announced that a quartet of high-school area trombone players was named the winner of its 2019 National Anthem contest. By winning the contest, the quartet will play The Star-Spangled Banner at a Blues home game during the 2019-2020 season.
Judges praised the quartet for their original, Blues-inspired rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner, arranged by 15-year-old Thomas Gustafson.
The quartet consists of Gustafson, a sophomore at Clayton High School; Daniel Jung, a senior at Ladue Horton Watkins High School; Geoffrey Ladue, a senior at Lafayette High School; and Evan Smith, a senior at O’Fallon Township High School. All four are members of the St. Louis Symphony Youth Orchestra.
The audition was part of an ongoing partnership between the SLSO and Blues. The winners were selected from a pool of more than 250 video applicants and 25 finalists. Auditions for the finalists were held at Powell Hall on August 24 and included vocalists, instrumentalists, and small groups.
Former Blues National Anthem Singer Charles Glenn; SLSO IN UNISON Chorus Director Kevin McBeth; SLSO musician Gerry Pagano; Kennedy Holmes, St. Louis native and finalist on season 15 of NBC’s The Voice; and James Bertels, who was a winner of the inaugural contest in 2017-2018, judged the competition.