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SYRACUSE, N.Y. - The Carrier Dome is a large arena, but a 3-year-old boy wearing a tiny basketball jersey brought the house down Monday night.
Drake Grillo, of Auburn, New York, became the youngest person to sing the national anthem at the dome, strolling out to midcourt to belt out his rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” before the Syracuse University women’s basketball team defeated Niagara, the Syracuse Post-Standard reported.
"I just think he's too little to realize how big of a deal it is,'' Drake’s mother, Chelsea Grillo, told the newspaper. "We just try to stay calm for him and not really talk it up. We don't ask him if he's nervous. So then maybe he won't think of that. I don't think he really knows what nervous is yet.''
There was no sign of nerves for the boy, who wore a No. 44 Syracuse basketball jersey as he sang. When he was done, several of the Syracuse basketball players came over to give him a fist-bump, the Post-Standard reported.
This was not Drake’s first performance before a live audience. He sang the national anthem before the first pitch of the three games of the Auburn Doubledays minor-league baseball team, the Post-Standard reported.
Grillo said her son keeps sharp by singing into a toy microphone at home. While the anthem is his signature song, Drake has expanded his repertoire.
"Right now he’s into Christmas music, so he sings that,'' Grillo told the Post-Standard.