Airman First Class Michelle Doolittle may already be known to baseball fans from her performance at last year’s World Series in game five. Military enthusiasts probably recognize her last name before anything else — she is a second cousin to Gen. James “Jimmy” Doolittle, the famed airman who led the Doolittle Raiders in World War II. But after her incredible performance of “God Bless America” this week during game two of the World Series in Kansas City, she’ll likely be known to Americans everywhere.
Doolittle brought goosebumps to countless arms as she hit every single note perfectly, including the final high note to end the song that can cause so many singers to falter. But not Doolittle — she sang so well that she made it look easy. And she says that her key is to pick something and focus on only that while she sings. This year, the yellow foul pole was in her line of sight, so she sang to that pole. Last year, she sang along with a man in the crowd. “[T]here was an older gentleman directly in my line of vision and he was singing along with me. And I don’t know if he could tell I was looking right at him but I was just singing with him. So it sort of depends on what happens to be right in front of me,” Doolittle said.
Her talent was honed through years of training at California State Fullerton as a music major and the New England Conservatory of Music. When she saw an audition posted for the Air Force Band, she signed up, but didn’t make it. But she worked her way instead to the Travis Air Force Base Band of the Golden West. And while some may find the crowds intimidating, Doolittle doesn’t. For her, she’s just doing her job, and that job is to put the Air Force in the best possible light.
“The way I think of it is I’m there doing my job,” she said. “I’m there to represent the Air Force and the people I work with. I’m representing them, I’m representing the larger community.”