Singing the “Star Spangled Banner” isn’t new to Hazen freshman Lena Hou.
She has been performing the National Anthem in front of audiences since she was 9 years old. And her latest performance came Sept. 7 at the Rodeo Playoffs at the Washington State Fair.
Hou said she has sung the anthem so many times she has lost count. Her roughly five year run began when she performed the anthem in 2013 during Gov. Jay Inslee’s inauguration. She had only performed it once prior to that, where Inslee saw her sing and then invited her to perform at his inauguration, Hou said.
Hou has performed the anthem at many events including a number of Miss Washington Teen USA ceremonies. However, now that she is of competing age she cannot perform for them anymore, she said.
A dream event Hou has her sights set on is performing the Star Spangled Banner prior to kickoff of a Seahawks game.
Aside from her goal of singing at a Seahawks game, Hou said she hopes this (singing the anthem) will help launch her singing career. Through singing, she said she is able to express herself.
Now that she has been performing the anthem, Hou said she has paid more attention to where she lives.
“After singing it for so long, it has opened my eyes more,” she said.
Because Hou has sung the anthem so many times, she said she doesn’t get nervous anymore. There was one time when she was 9 years old, she said that she forgot the lyrics.
“That was a difficult day,” she said. “But it made me better.”
In her short time at Hazen, Hou has joined the Divina Voce, the girl’s choir. Other than performing with Divina Voce, Hou said she no longer takes professional singing or voice lessons. She said now she coaches herself.
“I don’t do any specific warm-ups,” Hou said. “I feel like continuing to sing is what makes me better.”
She isn’t just musically talented with her voice, Hou also said she likes to play all kinds of instruments.
“I like to pick up an instrument and try to figure out how to play it,” she said.
Hou added playing music is calming to her.
“It makes me happy,” she said.
Hou may be a few years away from choosing a college to attend but she didn’t shy away from saying she wants to attend one with a good music program.
“I want to stick with music,” she said. “It’s what I’m good at and it’s something very important to me.”
Hou credits her dad for her musical ability. Her mom, Evelyn, echoed that comment, saying she is tone deaf.