By Linda Comins '77

A powerful baritone from Bethany has been called up to the major leagues to deliver "The Star-Spangled Banner" at PNC Park in Pittsburgh over the Labor Day weekend.
David Joseph Rudari, director of the college choir and assistant professor of fine arts-music at Bethany College, has been chosen to sing the National Anthem on Sunday, Sept. 4, prior to the 1:35 p.m. baseball game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Chicago Cubs. Rudari also has been asked to sing "God Bless, America" during the seventh-inning stretch.

Rudari, a doctoral candidate at West Virginia University, said he is very excited about the opportunity to perform the National Anthem for the Pirates game. While he has sung the anthem on other occasions, it will be his first time to perform in a venue as large as PNC Park.

"It's a big venue. I enjoy the challenge, that's for sure," the singer commented.

Bethany officials, students and alumni will be present at the ballpark to hear Rudari's performance. Joseph Kurey, vice president for finance and treasurer of the college, said the Bethany contingent will be seated together in the same section and each member of the group will receive a Pirates hat.

Kurey said the college plans to provide bus transportation for Bethany students who want to attend the baseball game. A block of tickets is available for Bethany fans at a special rate, he said. Area alumni who want to purchase these tickets may contact Kurey by telephone at (304) 829-7211 or by e-mail at
Members of Rudari's family are coming from Syracuse, N.Y., to hear him sing at the Pirates game. Also in the stadium will be his principal voice teacher at WVU, Augusto Paglialunga, who is an Ohio Valley native.

Rudari expressed his gratitude to Pirates officials and to Kurey "for making this all possible." After an initial suggestion from Kurey, representatives of the Pirates front office contacted Rudari directly and an invitation was extended to the baritone soloist to perform for the baseball audience.

When Rudari sang the National Anthem at the Bethany alumni basketball game in February, "the comments from everyone were so positive," Kurey recalled. "People were so quiet when he was singing. They really appreciated it (his rendition)."

Rudari has sung the National Anthem on several occasions, mostly for sporting events, and has performed in many other venues in the United States and abroad.

Prior to his upcoming date at PNC Park, "the biggest venue I've been in was the field house at WVU," he said. "I sang the National Anthem for the hockey team down there a few times."

Regarding Rudari's selection by the Pirates, Michael P. Mihalyo Jr., Bethany vice president for academic affairs and dean of faculty, said, "We're delighted that David has such a rare opportunity to share his talents with the greater Pittsburgh community.

"He (Rudari) is such a talented, sensitive singer that whatever he is doing, he inspires people," commented Mihalyo, who also has been an associate professor of fine arts-music at the college. "I am proud to know him, and I do respect his abilities as a teacher and a singer."

Of the Pirates' invitation, Mihalyo remarked, "It certainly is a personal honor for David, but also for the college to recognize one of our faculty members."

Rudari, who joined the Bethany faculty in 2000, has a number of musical engagements this fall. The New York native will perform Ralph Vaughan Williams' "Five Mystical Songs" in Baldwinsville, N.Y., in September and will be a soloist for three performances of Handel's "Messiah" in Watertown, N.Y., after Thanksgiving.

A candidate for a doctor of musical arts degree at WVU, Rudari also is preparing for his final doctoral recital, accompanied by Mihalyo on piano, and is working on his dissertation. He has spent the summer doing research for his dissertation in New York City and at Yale University.

As director of the college choir, Rudari is planning another performance of John Rutter's "Requiem" on campus and a Festival of Lessons and Carols at St. Joseph Cathedral in Wheeling. "I'm looking forward to a really good year," he remarked.

A frequent performer in the Ohio Valley, Rudari is a past winner of the WVU Division of Music Young Artist Competition. He has a number of operatic, concert and musical theater roles to his credit. He has performed in stage productions and in concert in several states and in Austria.

Rudari is a graduate of the State University of New York at Fredonia with a bachelor of music education degree and holds a master of music degree from the University of Wyoming.