Kylie Robinson had quite a month of June.
For any 14-year-old, getting the chance to sing the National Anthem at a baseball game would be a big deal, but Kylie took things to a different level: Two anthems, for two different countries, in two different languages, in an 18-day span.
The stretch started on June 12, when Robinson got the chance to sing the Star Spangled Banner before the Durham Bulls’ home game against the Charlotte Knights, in front of a crowd of more than 5,000 fans.
That in itself was an accomplishment: The Bulls chose the six dozen anthem singers for their home games prior to the season—a group that includes church choirs, school glee clubs and professionals.
“I’ve done it for my neighborhood swim team,” Robinson said, “and I do it for my school, but this was the first time I’d sung it at anyplace like this—the DBAP.”
She’d get an encore much sooner than she expected.
On June 30, with the Bulls on the road, USA Baseball played a game at the DBAP as part of the International Friendship Series. The opponent would be the national team from Chinese Taipei.
It turns out that anthem is in Robinson’s wheelhouse as well.
“I lived in Chinese Taipei from 2013 to 2015,” she explained. “At school, we had to sing it every week, at weekly assembly. So it’s kind of in my brain.”
Robinson goes to a Chinese school in the Triangle every Saturday, so when the Taiwanese community in the area began to organize activities to help welcome the national team, her name came up.
“The people who were putting everything tougher for Chinese Taipei, our crew here, were looking for someone who could sing the anthem,” Robinson said. “They said, ‘Hey, she sang the national anthem already. She’s been here. She’s done this before. Maybe we can get her to sing this anthem.’”
“We all know each other on Facebook,” she added.
Robinson printed out the lyrics to study beforehand, but when she took the field prior to the Team USA game, she held only a microphone.
“That anthem was much more stressful,” she admitted, “because I’d never sang that one in public before.”
Not only that, but there was no music to go along with it. Like her version of the U.S. anthem earlier in the month, Kylie had to sing a capella.
“This one (the Chinese Taipei anthem) is usually not sung a capella. It’s usually done with an orchestra in the background. It’s very big.”
The large contingent from the Chinese Taipei community roared their approval, and even the fans who didn’t understand a word of the song were impressed with Robinson’s voice.
Then, the real experts weighed in.
“The national team all gave me high fives afterward,” Robinson said.
Longtime DBAP veterans couldn’t recall the last time that a singer had done two different national anthems in the same month. The best guess was that someone might have done the U.S. and Canadian anthems prior to a Bulls game back when Ottawa had a team in the International League. Ottawa’s last year was 2007, but, unless someone went with a French version of the song, it’s likely that Robinson is the first to pull off the bilingual anthem feat.