WESTERLY — David DeAngelis had to read the email seven times over. It’s not every day you get an email from the Boston Red Sox inviting you to sing “God Bless America” at Fenway Park on Sunday during the seventh inning stretch so he was, at first, suspicious.
“I kept wondering, ‘Is this legit?’” said DeAngelis, a vocalist who, among other occupations, is half of the Westerly-based duo “Happy and the Moonshine.”
Then the threads started coming together and he realized it was an authentic request. DeAngelis, who says he’s been singing since he could talk, was the Pawsox McCoy Stadium Idol contest winner in 2011, which earned him the opportunity to sing the national anthem at a Pawsox game the following season. After that event, he sent off a sample of his work to the Red Sox officials in charge of music, with the hope of doing the same thing at Fenway Park.
“And now it’s three years later,” he said. “They want me to sing for Rhode Island Day.”
“Of course I said I would,” said DeAngelis, an Ashaway native who graduated from Chariho in 2006, studied at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York and graduated from New England Tech with a video and audio production degree.
“I was really overwhelmed at first,” said DeAngelis. “It’s emotional. This is huge. I’m nervous to think about how many people I’ll be singing in front of. But I am definitely excited.”
“I am really excited for him,” said Benjamin Barber, DeAngelis’ business partner at New Shore Productions, a Westerly-based entertainment company. “When he called to tell me I was really, really happy for him. It’s incredible.”
Michael Chicoria, a freelance musician and the other half of Happy and the Moonshine, has known DeAngelis for more than 18 years. The duo first sang together in George Kent’s Chorus of Westerly and now perform at most of the area nightspots, singing a repertoire that includes “an eclectic mix of music from the past nine decades.”
“I was excited but not surprised,” said Chicoria, who also give piano lessons. “Dave is one of the best singers I have ever heard. He has an amazing range and can sing anything from classical to jazz to popular music.”
Dan Lyons thought the same thing when he listened to the CD DeAngelis sent him back in 2011.
Lyons, who handles the pregame ceremonies at Fenway Park, has the responsibility of booking the national anthem performers.
When he needed a Rhode Island singer for Sunday to sing “God Bless America,” he went through his Rhode Island files and came upon DeAngelis’ CD.
He listened and he liked what he heard.
Since he’d already selected someone else to sing the anthem, he asked DeAngelis if he would be available to sing “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch.
“Of course I said yes,” said DeAngelis, who also hosts a weekly podcast with Barber called “The Sky is Falling,” which features interviews with local newsmakers, musicians, business owners “and anyone else we think you should know more about.”
Soon after DeAngelis received confirmation from Lyons and the instructions for picking up his tickets and conducting a sound check, he posted the good news on Facebook.
“Pretty exciting day today ... May 4th is ‘Rhode Island Day’ at Fenway Park, and I’ve been asked to sing ‘God Bless America’ during the 7th inning stretch at the game! Don’t really know what else to say except I’m honored to be given the incredible opportunity!” he wrote.
Moments after the post went up, his friends, fans and family began congratulating him.
“I can’t even begin to tell you how proud I am of you!” wrote his mom, Aurelia.
“Congratulations, awesome,” wrote one friend after an another until more than 300 people had left messages of praise.
“I hope we’ll be able to see him sing on TV Sunday,” said Chicoria, but it will be OK with him if his singing partner gets bumped by a commercial.
“I’m sure this won’t be the last time he’ll be singing in Fenway,” he said. “He’ll be singing the national anthem soon enough.”
On Twitter @NBFwesterlySUN