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Music Alumnus Finds Grand Stage at World Series
Article | October 26, 2012 | By James Leonard
Alumnus and staff member Dan Olivas sang 'God Bless America' during Game 2 of the World Series in San Francisco.
Alumnus and staff member Dan Olivas sang "God Bless America" during Game 2 of the World Series in San Francisco.
Dan Olivas has sung in front of some pretty large crowds. He sang the National Anthem before 1,000 fans at an international auto race at Laguna Seca. He did the same at a minor-league baseball game in front of about 3,000.

He found himself on a slightly bigger stage Thursday night.

Olivas, who graduated from CSU Stanislaus with a bachelor's degree in music in 2011 and is now a staff member in the Office of Information Technology, sang "God Bless America" in front of more than 40,000 fans and millions more on live television Thursday during Game 2 of the World Series. (See video of Olivas' performance along with more coverage below this article.)

"This was probably the highlight of my life," Olivas said. "The scope of the audience was kind of mind-boggling."

A member of the Air National Guard Band of the West Coast, Olivas performed a cappella in full uniform during the seventh-inning stretch of the San Francisco Giants' victory over the Detroit Tigers. He admitted to feeling some nerves while waiting in the tunnel during the top of the inning, but once on the field, he went into "performance mode."

"I focused on the crowd in front of me, and the other 40,000 kind of faded into the background," he said. "The nerves went away as soon as I stepped to the microphone. My instructor (CSU Stanislaus Professor Joseph Wiggett) told me to think of it as an intimate recital at Snider Hall, so I took that with me.

"It felt good. There's kind of a competitive rush, like an athlete feels. I owned my opponent — which was myself."

Olivas credited the music faculty at CSU Stanislaus for helping him hone his natural talents and grow as a singer and musician. The 30-year-old Olivas was born in Modesto and grew up in Ceres, where his mother was an elementary school teacher.

In addition to singing at San Jose Giants minor-league games and other events, Olivas had recently performed at a fundraising event for Operation Care and Comfort, a group that supports Bay Area troops through care packages and other efforts. The organization's president and cofounder, Julie DeMaria, enjoyed Olivas' work and helped him submit an audition tape to the Golden State Warriors in early October. She also sent the tape to the San Francisco Giants, and Olivas received the news Tuesday that he'd been selected to sing during Thursday's game.

"It took a while for it to really sink in," Olivas said. "Once I found out, I got really nervous."

Olivas has done singing at military events and is also the Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge of the guard's brass quintet, often performing at military ceremonies and public concerts. He performed with the guard's concert band in front of President George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry during the 2004 presidential campaign at an event in Las Vegas.

And while Olivas said he is a baseball fan, he wasn't necessarily rooting for the home team.

"I'm actually a Dodgers fan," he said. "But it doesn't matter what teams are playing. I just really enjoy the opportunity to perform." 

See More

Modesto Bee: Ceres resident to sing 'God Bless America' at World Series

Turlock Journal: Ceres airman sings before World Series crowd

Intercepts (DefenseNews blog): Photo of the Day

Video of Olivas' performance (MLB.com):

CSU Stanislaus Video: Olivas talks about his special night, including how it compared to playing in a concert band for the President of the United States.

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