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Football Players Hit The Court To Sing National Anthem

Feb 3, 2009

BOULDER - "Everyone please rise to your feet for the singing of the National Anthem, sung tonight by CU football player Austin Bisnow." 

After hearing his name announced, the energetic music composition major burst into song and displayed his own rendition of the National Anthem in front of the crowd at the Coors Events/Conference Center.  Bisnow was asked to sing the anthem at the start of the Colorado-Iowa State men's basketball game in Boulder on January 27. 

"My heart's always pounding and my hands get cold right before, but I love it," said Bisnow, a junior from Washington D.C.  "It's a good nervous."

But from all accounts, Bisnow seemed confident with his lively performance. 

The next night at the same venue, another CU football player, Sione Tau, got the chance to wow the crowd with his version of the Anthem as he performed before the start of the women's game against Texas Tech. 

The sophomore from Honolulu had no trouble hitting the high and low notes of the song, but like Bisnow, he too was a little nervous. 

"To tell you the truth, my knees were shaking," Tau said.

Both Bisnow and Tau received an uproar of applause after their unique renditions of the National Anthem. 

When asked what the crowd thought of a football player singing the Anthem, Tau didn't know what to say. 

"I don't think they expected that though," Tau laughed.

The 6-5, 325-pound offensive tackle's job is to block his opponents on the football field, but nothing could block him from hitting the high tones of the National Anthem on Wednesday night.

While the basketball game was not Tau's first time singing the song - he had sung it before back in high school - he stated that the crowd at the women's game is the largest audience he's ever faced.  He was encouraged to try out for the opportunity by his football coaches.

"It's a good experience to just try and do new things," Tau said. 

For Bisnow, who was asked to perform for the men's basketball game, singing the Anthem was "a huge honor."  But little did the crowd know that the football team's long snapper and almost missed his chance to sing at center court. 

A minute before Bisnow was supposed to go on, he ran to grab a quick drink of water because his throat was dry.  He was told that he didn't have time, so Bisnow rushed back out and on his way out to sing, grabbed a drink of the players' water behind the bench.  That must have been some pretty good water because Bisnow nailed the performance and afterward, the men's basketball team snagged its first conference win of the season.

For both Tau and Bisnow, music and football consume a large part of their lives, but neither would have it any other way.

Football and music have been a way of life for Tau for as long as he can remember.  He played in a church band back in Hawaii where he used to sing and play instruments. In fact, the talented Tau can not only play football and sing, but he plays five instruments: guitar, base guitar, piano, drums, and the ukulele. 

Although football at a Division I school takes up a lot his time, Tau never has trouble finding room for a little music in his day. 

"You don't really need time for music," Tau explained.  "You can always find time. I can go to the field and just sing along the way." 

Tau also likes to record for fun on his computer, something he does to relieve stress from time to time. 

Bisnow jokingly credits his ability to juggle football and music to a "lack of sleep."  But he says that he really loves them both and is driven to stick with them. 

Football has been a part of his life since the third grade.  And as far as music goes, Bisnow has always loved to perform and feed off the crowd while singing and dancing.  He really picked up his love of songwriting and performing nine summers ago, when he broke his leg on the first day of basketball camp and was thus signed up for music camp instead. 

"The only camp left to sign up for was a songwriting camp and I really liked it," Bisnow said. "And I stuck with it. Every day keep getting more passionate towards it." 

Neither Tau nor Bisnow know where their futures lie, but both say that either music or football could be a possibility.

Bisnow wants to make it big in the music industry, and would love to someday be a pop star performing in front of his fans.  Bisnow is up for the challenge and has already released two CDs on iTunes.  As for football, Bisnow will just go with the flow.

"I'm sticking with it," Bisnow said.  "We'll see if scouts talk to me and how I feel in a couple of years."

For Tau, it would be a dream to go to the NFL, but if not, he sees himself going back to Hawaii to try to help out with the church. Then if he has time, he would like to go to Bible School to learn how to be a motivational speaker, or "a singer through life experience" as he puts it.  He sees singing as a way to motivate and inspire people. 

No matter which path these two musical athletes or perhaps athletic musicians choose to take, they sure possess the skills to succeed in entertaining and inspiring their fans.