Grandparents know the passion they hold for their grandchildren. Not only do they love them with all their hearts, but they hope they can give them something useful they can use in life. Nancy Mathews is one of those fortunate grandparents who has made a significant difference in her grandson’s life. She started teaching grandson Elijah Mathews, of Cogswell, ND, piano lessons in the third grade and thus began his love for music.
He has auditioned the last two years, along with hundreds of others, to play the National Anthem for the Minnesota Twins and has been selected a winner both years. Mathews, a senior at Sargent Central High School in Forman, ND, is a quiet soft-spoken young man who is thrilled to play on his trumpet for his favorite team, the Twins, in his favorite sport, baseball.
“The Twins do an annual two-day called “TwinsFest” during the offseason with lots of activities, including the chance to meet and visit with players,” he said. “They do live auditions, but since I can’t take part in those, I mail them a CD of my song. Fortunately, the past two years I’ve been selected.”
The first year the game was during the school year on Sept. 26; the Minnesota Twins sent a live broadcast to theSargentCentralSchoolfor all staff and students to observe.
This year the game was on Aug. 16 and school wasn’t in session, so Mathews played without the whole town taking part.
“The first year, the Twins played the New York Yankees and this year they were up against the Chicago White Sox,” Mathews said. “It’s great fun!”
As he is playing the “Star Spangled Banner,” a veteran raises the flag.
“Last year we visited with the veteran’s family which made the whole occasion a little more special,” he said. “I feel the song is for the benefit of every person who has served this country.”
Music has been a major part of Mathews’ life. After beginning piano with his grandmother, he took piano lessons for eight years with Eileen Geske of Verona, ND. He has played for his church and school choirs. He started playing the trumpet in fifth grade band and has had four other band instructors since then. He also has been taking lessons from Dr. Jeremy Brekke, a trumpet professor at NDSU in Fargo, ND, for six years. He’s attended International Music Camp at the Peace Gardens in North Dakota for six years and has played in North Dakota All-State Orchestra and All-State Band. He has also been selected to play in the UND Honor Band in Grand Forks, ND, the last three years.
“Every camp or event has something special involved with it,” Mathews said. “This year I got to meet three students from Sweden in International Music Camp.”
His college plans are uncertain, but he’s considering something in the field of science or becoming a pilot and, of course, joining a college band.
Also, on his agenda this year is again auditioning to play the National Anthem for the Twins.