Marquette Wire

MU Provost shares vocal talent

Dan Myers takes on new role by singing national anthem

Photo by Photo via Twitter.com/twitter.com/myersdanielj

Photo by Photo via Twitter.com/twitter.com/myersdanielj

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The scattered flurries begin to swell into near whiteout conditions. It’s about 30 degrees outside, though anyone who’s ever lived in Milwaukee knows that constant biting gusts make it feel nearly 15 degrees colder – especially on the vast open plain of Valley Fields. The huddled masses of hat-and-scarf-garbed fans stand up in the bleachers and turn toward the flying stars and stripes in the far corner across the field. A stoic, strong rendition of the national anthem begins playing through loudspeakers. The voice belongs to University Provost Dan Myers.

“No. This obviously is not (part of my job description),” Myers said, after giving a live performance of the national anthem prior to the men’s lacrosse game against BIG EAST rival Villanova Saturday.

Despite spending his days dealing with typical provost affairs (attending to and being responsible for all aspects of the university’s academic mission), Myers has made a name for himself among students in an entirely unexpected way. While most adults – let alone high-ranking university administrators – might not know a treble from a bass clef, Myers has made a second, musically-filled career of sorts.

“It happened one day in the office. I was just talking and chit-chatting, and I mentioned that it had always been on my bucket list to sing the national anthem at a sporting event,” Myers said. “My assistant heard me and made a phone call. She got it all set up.”

A few days later on Dec. 6, Myers found himself center court at the Al McGuire Center singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the women’s basketball victory over the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

“It was definitely a nice surprise to not only hear that he had interest in singing the anthem at our athletic events, but also that he had a good voice and could also sing very well,” said Greg Cronkite, director of marketing and fan engagement for athletics.

“The National Anthem World Tour,” as Myers jokingly calls it, didn’t end there. Myers again performed at a women’s basketball game before the Jan. 22 tilt against Providence, then filled in for a cancelled performance at the men’s basketball game against Georgetown on March 1.

Singing at the men’s basketball game was the largest audience for which Myers has ever performed. Seeing the provost perform on the Jumbotron was a welcome surprise for many students.

“I remember seeing him (on the video board) and thinking, ‘That’s kind of funny,'” said Brendan Attey, a freshman in the College of Communication. “I knew he was an important guy, but it turned out he had a really great voice too.”

Listening to Myers perform shows that checking this goal off his musical bucket list is much different from a casual baseball fan aiming to throw out the first pitch. A quick look at his Twitter account (@myersdanielj) reveals a love for karaoke and concerts, but singing is more than just a hobby for Myers – it’s a lifelong passion and endeavor.

“Growing up, music was big in my family. My parents were ministers, so we were inspired to be in every imaginable music and singing group at church and in school,” Myers said. “I sang in every church group, band choir and ad hoc music group possible.”

In high school, Myers made sure music remained part of his education, replacing his chemistry class with a course in music theory. In college, his musical fervor continued, as he performed in rock bands, an acoustic trio and multiple choirs.

“I’ve done much less of it as my academic career developed but never lost the bug,” Myers said.

Cronkite, who’s responsible for scheduling the national anthem performances, admitted that as long as there is interest from Myers, the performances will continue.

“The reaction from the fans and students when he sings has been great,” Cronkite said. “Seeing someone in a position like Provost Myers stepping outside of his typical duties and singing the national anthem in front of the crowd (has been great).”

Marquette athletic teams should be happy as well. In the four games for which Myers has sang, Marquette is a perfect 4-0, including a women’s basketball 30-point blowout over Providence, a thrilling 88-87 men’s basketball victory over Georgetown and a stunning 11-3 over Villanova for men’s lacrosse.

For Myers, the stage seems to keep getting bigger and better.

“I’m supposed to sing at a Bucks game some time soon,” Myers said. If that goes well, Myers hopes, a trip to Miller Park for a Brewers game might be in the cards as well.

Indeed, this was not part of the job description.

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1 Comment

One Response to “MU Provost shares vocal talent”

  1. Rea on March 15th, 2017 8:57 am

    Hi Dan, i don’t tweet, got on thanks to Laura. Congratulations on the singing. So GREAT to hear someone promoting it, rather than sitting. Wish professional teams had the guts to just fire them. I’m MEAN..😊

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