SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

April 12, 2013

Star-spangled night at Fenway for Danvers singer

BY ETHAN FORMAN
STAFF WRITER

---- — DANVERS — Red Sox fans gladly removed their caps last night for Transportation Security Administration officer Julia Strangie-Brown of Danvers as she belted out the national anthem during TSA Night at Fenway Park.

Strangie-Brown, who works at Logan Airport, serves as part of the TSA’s honor guard, which took the field before last night’s game against the Baltimore Orioles.

“I do a lot of singing for the ceremonies that we do,” said Strangie-Brown, 26, a Class of 2005 graduate of Danvers High who has been singing for the past 18 years.

The daughter of former Selectman Ken Brown and his wife, Elisa Strangie, Strangie-Brown was a member of the Danvers High Academy Theatre and in her senior year performed in the musical “42nd Street.”

After high school, she enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Boston as a math major, but that didn’t keep her from singing. In her sophomore year, she attended a Gilbert and Sullivan program at Oxford University in England, focusing on the music of the popular Victorian-era comic operas.

Following graduation in 2009, she taught middle school math in Amesbury for year. But, looking for a more stable position and job security, she joined the TSA in the summer of 2010.

While her singing debut at Fenway had been in the works for some time, she learned last week “that it was absolutely going to happen,” she said. She had recorded an audition tape with the help of a fellow TSA employee who works in information technology.

She’s sung the national anthem in the past before crowds at martial arts events, and locals may remember her a cappella rendition at the Rotary Pavilion on the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. But last night was by far the biggest performance of her life.

Music is in her family, she said. Her mother and grandmother sang; her father played drums; and her grandfather could play piano, organ, harpsichord and other instruments. Her older sister, Mela, 27, and her younger sister, Elisa, 19, also sing, she said.

“We are very excited, obviously,” Ken Brown said before yesterday’s performance, “and it is a chance of a lifetime and a dream of a lifetime for many people. ... We couldn’t be more proud, and of course we are all going in there.”

Brown said the TSA honor guard turns out when the casket of a fallen soldier arrives at the airport. They also appear at Veterans Day ceremonies and post-911 memorials. Last year, on Veterans Day, the honor guard lined up in Terminal C at the airport, “dipped the colors and had a minute of silence,” Brown said, and his daughter sang “God Bless America.”

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.