Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.
By Mike Burbach
Published: December 31, 2015
A video screen grab shows Tech. Sgt. Johnny Holliday playing the "Star Spangled Banner" on Dec. 27, 2015, before the start of an NFL game in Minneapolis. YOUTUBE
National Anthem Performance 27 Dec 2015...This has got to be the coldest environment I have EVER performed in (14º)...this was one of the most memorable moments in my life...as you'll be able to see at the end of the performance.
There was a series of high notes in the chill of TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday night: Harrison Smith's interception for a Minnesota Vikings touchdown, for example; Teddy Bridgewater's touchdown passes; Blair Walsh's long field goal.
And, before any of that, was the high G that Johnny Holliday hit and held before 40,000 fans and a national TV audience on the coldest stage he'd ever played.
"I couldn't feel my mouthpiece ... is it on my face?" Holliday recalled in a jocular phone interview Tuesday. "It was cold. I pushed a New York Giant out of the way so I could put my face in the blower."
Holliday's trumpet rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" was stirring enough, but his enthusiastic – and unusual – celebration when it was over set the crowd roaring even louder.
"Out of all the performances I've done in my career, I've never done that before," he said, "especially in uniform. There was just so much going on that night, and that and the high note were the only outlet I had."
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