Jaesen Moore’s national anthem rendition is legend on the Grand Strand
While helping tidy up after an LPGA event at Planet Hollywood in Myrtle Beach 20 years ago, Jaesen Moore jokingly grabbed the mic and started belting out, “O-oh say, can you see…”
The powerful tenor voice immediately captivated the room, with one man declaring Moore had to finish the song. He did, and the group told him where he was going the next day: to audition for the Pelicans because they were looking for talented folks to perform the anthem during their inaugural baseball season.
That simple audition set off two decades—and still counting—of regular performances at Pelicans games and sparked a constant stream of requests to sing the anthem at all sorts of events along the Grand Strand, including the Myrtle Beach Marathon, the Big South tournament, community festivals and City of Myrtle Beach holiday observances.
“A season wouldn’t be complete without him standing at home plate and gracing us with his powerful rendition of the anthem at least once,” said Ryan Moore, general manager of the Pelicans. “You never have to wonder what you’re going to get when you schedule him to sing. It’s always going to be great.”
Moore often wears a flag shirt or red, white and blue when he performs and often streams his performances on Facebook. He doesn’t get paid for performing the anthem, but crowds routinely reward him with applause and handshakes as he leaves the microphone.
“I love those reactions. I love shaking the hands of the veterans,” said Moore, whose father and grandfather served in the military. “I didn’t dodge bullets, but if there’s a way I can pay the sacrifice forward with what I have, I’m going to do it.”
He’s performed hundreds of times over the past two decades, but still gets nervous before taking the mic.
“I always get nervous. Even to this day I feel it,” said Moore, who grew up singing, influenced by his mother and her performances in musicals. “If I don’t feel it, something’s not right.”
There are a few performances that stand out for him, including one that wasn’t planned. Moore was in the crowd attending a tournament at Socastee High School when technical difficulties produced only silence as the crowd was on their feet ready to hear a recording of the anthem.
“I looked down and God’s like, ‘You know what you have to do now.’ And I just started singing,” Moore said, still overcome with emotion when reflecting on that impromptu performance. “It’s just a powerful moment.”
Moore, owner of J-Mike’s Flavor Station in Holiday Sands in Myrtle Beach and father of two, also fronts a rock band, The Izm. As a cook, he’s known for his beef jerky and tacos. Behind the microphone, he’s known for his classic rendition of the anthem.
“That’s my song,” he said. “I have to just be free and let it flow.”
PHOTOGRAPH BY LARRY KAVE/MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS