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Resident vies to sing anthem at RNC
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Erica DiCeglie plays the piano at St. Jerome’s Catholic Church in Largo where she is the assistant Music Director. She hopes to sing the national anthem at the RNC in Tampa.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – Singing in front of a crowd is nothing new for Erica DiCeglie. The 36-year-old Indian Rocks Beach resident has been singing all her life and now sings at events and in restaurants all over Pinellas County.

In addition she is the assistant music director at St. Jerome’s Catholic Church in Largo. However, if she gets her wish she will soon be singing in front of the biggest crowd of her life.

DiCeglie is one of four finalists vying to sing the national anthem at the Republican National Convention in Tampa during the week of Aug. 26.

Several weeks ago DiCeglie was informed of a contest to select the voice of the Convention. Singers were invited to send videos of their performances, and 18 singers responded to the challenge. The videos were then posted on Facebook. The performers with the most “likes” advanced until the top 10 were reached. DiCeglie made the cut every time. Then a panel of judges took over from the Facebook friends and whittled the group down to the final four. Again DiCeglie made it through that round.

“It is so exciting,” she said. “This is a great opportunity for me and every opportunity opens a new door.” The next opportunity will be Saturday, Aug. 11 when DiCeglie and the other three finalists will perform at the Tampa Convention Center.

All the RNC volunteers will be there and they will be the ones to choose who will win and sing the anthem at the RNC opening. DiCeglie can’t wait.

“I’m so excited to perform live for people,” she said. “I sing the anthem a lot at various events and I have sung at the Trop. It is always an honor.”

In addition to her church work, DiCeglie sings around the county mostly with a jazz trio. She is quick to point out that she is a full time mom of two young children, a daughter, 7, and a son, 4.

“They take up a lot of my time and I love that,” she said. “I’m fortunate to be able to do what I do. My husband Nick is very supportive and he’s always 100 percent behind me.”

DiCeglie has support all over the Indian Rocks Beach community and one of the most vocal is Diane Flagg. She believes DiCeglie is most deserving of the honor.

“I have known her and have seen her sing at St. Jerome’s and in various venues around town,” she said. “She is so talented and her manner is so unassuming. She is down to earth and really caring.”

Flagg didn’t stop there.

“She works with the children at St. Jerome’s and they have a Christmas pageant. She is like an angel singing. And she cares about her community. She is a member of Action 2000 and is involved in Oktoberfest. She couldn’t be a better neighbor.”

DiCeglie admits that winning the contest and being able to sing the anthem at the RNC would be the highlight of her career. But a close second will always be the day three years ago when she sang the anthem on Memorial Day at the Bay Pines Memorial.

“There was to be a fly-over just as I finished the national anthem,” she said. “I had to time myself and get together with the pilot of the jet who used what I told him to fly over at the exact moment. All the while I was singing I was wondering if I was keeping the same time as I did in rehearsal. Well I did because the moment I sang the last note the jet flew over. It was very cool.”
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