CT eighth-grader sings national anthem at Fenway Park

Singing the national anthem before a sports game kicks off is usually the task of a famous musician. But for a recent Red Sox game, the guest musical act was a Fairfield student. 

Fairfield Woods Middle School eighth-grader Victoria Beniston opened the May 6 game with 4,734 in attendance at Fenway Park against the Detroit Tigers with an a cappella rendition of the national anthem. Beniston’s chorus teacher at Fairfield Woods, Carole Frawley, is a lifelong Red Sox fan and a current season ticket holder. A few years ago, she inquired about having her choir sing at the stadium, but learned that there is a ticket requirement to do so, making her dismiss the idea.

However, with the COVID-19 pandemic restricting groups, Frawley said when she received an email from Seth Shuman, a group sales account executive with the Red Sox, a few months ago saying the team was seeking soloists to sing for upcoming games, she knew she had to jump at the chance. 

“I hopped right on the email and I never asked this student because I knew in my heart that she was amazing and could do this if she was interested in doing it,” Frawley said. “She’s an outstanding singer and an outstanding kid in general, so without even asking her, I replied.”

Frawley said she notified Beniston the next day of her submission to have the 13-year-old sing the national anthem. Beniston later recorded a video audition of herself singing the anthem, and Frawley said what she heard when she watched Beniston’s recording was “so moving.”

“I knew she was good, I had no idea that she had this kind of like ‘national anthem from her toes’ kind of feel,” Frawley said. “I called her mom the next morning and was like, ‘Oh my god, in three notes, I was in tears.’”

After submitting the video, the next step for Beniston was to select a date for her potential performance, Frawley said, and they found out that Beniston was confirmed to sing at the Red Sox game while on April break from school. When Beniston’s big moment came, Frawley said she had nothing but encouraging words to calm her nerves.

“I said, ‘Listen, you are a natural at this,’” Frawley said. “Literally the minute she started, people responded...And at the end, the whole place went crazy. The most endearing part — because again, she was still so nervous about it as we left the field — we walked up to where our seats were in the outfield and people still applauded her.” 

While Frawley called it “unreal” to watch the student she’s taught for the past three years sing for her favorite team, she said Beniston’s school community is quickly taking note of her performance. 

“They were like, ‘Oh my god, that was crazy and how wasn’t she nervous?” Frawley explained. “[Beniston] hasn’t been back to school yet, but I’m sure the minute she gets to school, she’s already kind of famous.”