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Air Force vocalist from Montana sings National Anthem at NCAA tournament

U.S. Air Force vocalist Marik Chrisman with Champ
Posted at 1:23 PM, Mar 23, 2024

BUTTE — You can call it luck or you can call it happenstance, but either way a U.S. Air Force vocalist who hails from Deer Lodge got a pleasant surprise when he learned he would have the honor to sing the National Anthem ahead of his favorite Montana team's game in the first round of March Madness earlier this week.

Marik Chrisman, a senior airman and a regional bandsman with the U.S. Air Force stationed in Dayton, Ohio has been singing most of his life. His career as a vocalist in the Air Force, though, started just a few months ago and he never expected that he'd have the honor to sing for his favorite team on the national stage.

"We had already chosen like a couple of weeks in advance that I was going to take the second night," says Chrisman.

Chrisman shares vocalist responsibilities with another bandsman who already had her plate full on the night of March 20. At the time of scheduling the singer who would perform the National Anthem, the Bobcats hadn’t even secured the Big Sky title.

"The Sunday that we found out that the Cats were playing, it just all fell into place which was super cool," says Chrisman.

But how did he feel about getting this opportunity? And is he even a Bobcat fan?

"Absolutely. Yeah! Through and through. My dad’s alumni from MSU so it’s always been the family team. I was just ready to support the Cats wherever but it just so happened that they were here too," says Chrisman.

Upon hearing the news, Chrisman's parents made plans to attend the big game in Dayton.

"It ended up being really cool and we got some pretty cool courtside seats, too. So we were right next to Champ and the rest of the cheerleaders and the band as well. So that was awesome," says Chrisman.

And as he stood on the court near a giant American Flag, he was singing for everyone in attendance—but did he also feel like he was singing to Montana?

"Oh absolutely. It was really cool to stand up and represent even though there might not have been a whole lot of people in the audience from around this area that knew the connection. But it was a really awesome opportunity and I’m glad that I got to do Montana proud," Chrisman said.