OU students compete to sing at Tigers game

By Kaylee Kean

Oakland University seniors Jake Gilbert and Tyler Auclair are competing to sing at the Detroit Tigers’ last home game.

Gilbert, 21, and Auclair, 22, are one of 10 entries that have made it to the final stage of Comerica Bank’s “Home of the Brave” National Anthem Singing Contest.

The winning entry will be invited to sing the Star-Spangled Banner at the Sept. 22 game at Comerica Park. The winner will also receive 40 tickets to the game and a $10,000 grant for his or her police or fire department.

The contest is strictly for police officers and firefighters of the Southeastern Michigan area. Gilbert and Auclair, who are both volunteers at the Auburn Hills Fire Department (AHFD), are just two of four finalists from the Auburn Hills area.

The friends said they first heard about the contest in an email from one of their coworkers at the AHFD.

Auclair immediately went to Gilbert and said, “This sounds like a great idea.”

Gilbert and Auclair have both been performing for years and said they were pretty confident about entering right from the very beginning.

“If we do this, it’s a dream come true,” Auclair said.

Making it to the next level

When Gilbert and Auclair discovered that they had made it through the judging phase, they were overjoyed.

“We were in EMT class when we heard; we just got up and hugged in the middle of class,” Auclair said.

They and nine other contestants have made it through the judging phase to the public voting phase.

Gilbert and Auclair are the only team entry, with Gilbert playing guitar and Auclair singing. They are the only entry with an instrument, and they said they believe they are the youngest participants.

Both men expressed the hope that these factors work out in their favor.

“I’m nervous. There is some very good competition,” Gilbert said.

A dream come true

Auclair and Gilbert said that if they win, they will use the 40 tickets for their department and parents. They are not sure what the fire department will use the $10,000 grant for.

Auclair said he hopes it will go towards the scholarship fund that is already set up for student firefighters, and Gilbert said he would like to fund some sort of library for the department.

There was much debate between the two about what the money could be used for, but both agreed that winning it for their department would be a great thing.

The men had a hard time describing exactly how they will feel if they win.

“We’re not gonna grasp it until it’s all said and done,” Auclair said.

Vote

The two have told everyone they can about the contest – friends, family, and department – and said they are very excited to inform Oakland and get as much help from their fellow students as possible.

“We have a very good shot at winning with the support of Oakland,” said Auclair. “Even if a fraction of OU helped, it would help a ton.”

Gilbert was of the same mind.

“Help represent your city and your campus,” Gilbert said. “We will represent you when we walk out onto that field.”

To vote, go to www.facebook.com/ComericaCares and click on the ‘National Anthem’ tab. Voting ends Sept. 14. The winners will be announced Sept. 16.

Questions and/or comments can be sent to [email protected]

SIDEBAR:

 – Both would love to high-five Justin Verlander (pitcher).

 – Jake’s Tiger is Max Scherzer (pitcher), Tyler’s Tiger is Andy Dirks (outfielder)

 – Jake’s first game was in 1999 at the old Tiger Stadium, Tyler’s first game was in 2001

 – Both have made an effort to go to at least 3 or 4 games a season