C.J. Coyne sings the National Anthem in Batman movie
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It was a big moment for C.J. Coyne and a bit nerve-wracking, but when the crowd started chanting his name, the nerves were replaced by a broad smile.
"When I saw him swallowing and licking his lips, I was worried he was nervous but then the crowd started saying 'C.J., C.J.' and he just smiled," his father, Dan said.
C.J. sang the National Anthem before the football game scene in the new Batman movie, "The Dark Night Rises," opening in theaters at midnight.
C.J. was 11 last summer when he was chosen to sing the anthem.
A member of the Children's Festival Chorus of Pittsburgh, C.J., who lives in McCandless with his family, was at a summer residence camp with the choir at Washington & Jefferson University when the call went out.
"They wanted a boy to sing the anthem, and he auditioned and was lucky enough to be chosen," said his mother, Shelly.
They learned of his selection about a week after the audition via a telephone call. Once he was selected and signed a contract, C.J. spent a day practicing at a recording studio, then the whole family, including C.J.'s sister, 13-year-old Olivia, were invited to spend the day of the taping at Heinz Field.
"He had his own trailer with a star on the door with his name on it and a handler to escort him around," said Mrs. Coyne.
The family was allowed behind the scenes and ate in the dining hall with the actors from the film.
"We also got to see the Batmobile and spoke to the engineer ... It was quite the experience, "said Dan.
C.J. was accompanied by his choral director, Christine Jordanoff, throughout the day.
"I just pretended I was somewhere where there weren't so many people," said C.J. about his performance-day nerves.
The crowd of approximately 10,000 extras chanted his name when they saw it on the giant screen at the stadium and C.J. was on. It took approximately 20 takes, according to C.J., including an hour interruption due to rain.
"We got to go in with the Steelers, though, during the rain so I got to meet a lot of my favorites," said C.J. who met Troy Polamalu, Ben Roethlisberger and Hines Ward, along with Mayor Luke Ravensthal.
The family was at the field from about 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to Mrs. Coyne.
Although the movie doesn't officially debut until tonight, the Coynes have been able to view part of C.J.'s performance on the YouTube trailer #2 for the movie.
"I've watched it a lot," said C.J., although he has kept his appearance "down low" and not told his friends, who still managed to find out about their friend's film debut.
Thanks to his appearance in the movie, C.J. got to sing the National Anthem at the Steelers-Eagles preseason game Aug. 18 and attended the game with his family.
Mr. Coyne will be out of town for tonight's premiere, but C.J., Olivia and Mom will be at the theater for the big moment.
"I'm really excited to see it," said C.J.
The 12-year-old will be a sixth-grade student at Shady Side Academy this fall. While he enjoys singing and performing with the choir, he also has other interests.
"I want to either be a hockey player, a guitarist or a singer when I grow up," he said.
First Published July 19, 2012 5:16 am