Returned Missionary Performs National Anthem at Triple Crown Horse Race

Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer

  • 25 May 2017

U.S. Naval Academy midshipman and returned missionary Colin Gallacher, right, performed the American national anthem at the May 20, 2017, Preakness Stakes horse race. He also performed “Maryland, My Maryland” with fellow LDS midshipman Joe Bell, left, and other members of the academy’s men’s and women’s glee clubs at the historic sports event.  Photo courtesy of Barbara Bell.

A returned missionary sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Saturday’s 142nd Preakness Stakes horse race.

Midshipman Colin Gallacher, a sophomore at the United States Naval Academy, performed the American national anthem in front of legions of fans gathered for the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.

The Mesa, Arizona, native is a seasoned soloist. He’s participated in musicals for over a decade and has sung the national anthem at various athletic events at the academy. Still, he admitted to battling a few nerves before taking the Preakness stage dressed in his Navy choker white uniform.

“You go in with a certain amount of confidence—but you also know the whole world is watching,” he told the Church News with a laugh.

A member of the Annapolis Ward, Annapolis Maryland Stake, Midshipman Gallacher served a mission to Japan (2011–2013). His calling offered plenty of opportunities to share his musical talents, and he developed a love for singing hymns in Japanese.

The lessons he learned as a full-time missionary have also helped him manage the rigorous academic and military demands of the Naval Academy. “I’ve learned that there is a blessing that comes from scheduling everything out and making a plan.”

Midshipman Gallacher is majoring in cyber operations while pursuing a minor in Japanese. He plans to study next semester at the National Defense Academy of Japan.

Saturday marked a busy day for the future naval officer. After performing the national anthem he joined his fellow midshipmen from the academy’s women’s and men’s glee clubs to sing “Maryland, My Maryland” just moments prior to the race.

Another Latter-day Saint midshipman—Joe Bell from San Clemente, California—is also a member of the men’s glee club at the Naval Academy.