McIlwain to sing national anthem at Charlotte Knights baseball game

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By Denyse Clark

 Denyse Clark


Eldrina McIlwain, has enjoyed the rhythms and sounds of music since she was old enough to make infant sounds of her own. 

“All my life, I’ve been singing,” she said. “When I was little, my mom was the choir director for the church and when I got older, I started writing my own music.”

This petite, talented singer is the daughter of Eldred and Judy McIlwain of Lancaster; and her soulful expression of songs has begun to propel her talent into arenas for a vast audience to see and enjoy. 

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 6, McIlwain, 22, will sing The Star-Spangled Banner in the opening ceremonies of the Charlotte Knights/Gwinnett Braves baseball game. 

What’s most exciting is the journey that got her to this day of victory after an initial letdown. 

“Last year I tried out for American Idol,” she said. “I made it through pre-auditions and the first round.” 

But after the initial rounds of auditions, McIlwain didn’t advance. 

“After American Idol, my aunt told me about auditions for the Charlotte Knights,” she said. “I went and tried out and got an email that said, ‘come for a second try.’”

McIlwain said she was invited to the BB&T Ballpark for the second audition. 

When she got there, she said they handed her a microphone and told her it was for a “mic check.”

“They tricked me,” she said laughing. “They told me I already had made it. It was crazy.”

McIlwain said she is excitedly looking forward to performing the national anthem for the AAA professional baseball game crowd. She sees it as a opportunity to jump-start her budding career and get her voice heard.

Right now, she is not with a professional music label but has signed a distribution deal with a Charlotte marketing firm.

“I have a single (with D. Boyd), ‘All I Know,’ and I’m getting positive feedback on it,” she said. “ We’re just trying to bring Lancaster on the map.”

“I want to reach out to people to change people’s lives,” she said. “I’m just taking things a day at a time and being patient.”


Contact reporter Denyse Clark at (803) 283-1152