Vocal student sings national anthem at Dodger game

Not too long ago, Santa Monica College applied-vocal student Jonathan Hernandez was performing "Drinking Song" from the famous opera "La Traviatta" with SMC's symphony orchestra at the Broad Stage.

After the show, Hernandez was approached by two people in the audience with a huge opportunity that he just could not pass up — a chance to sing the National Anthem at Dodger's Stadium.

"It was a dream come true," Hernandez said, about singing before a Los Angeles Dodger's game. "The way it happened was so sudden, and it just felt right being able to perform in front of all those people. It was just very organic. It felt like home."

With only two weeks to practice, Hernandez made sure he was well prepared by working with his teacher David Goodman, a music professor at SMC.

"I was the most relaxed out of everyone," Hernandez said. "I didn't get nervous, just maybe right before I was going to sing. But as soon as I grabbed the mic, I heard the organ, then all the nerves went away. It was really fun and exciting."

Hernandez said he has been a part of numerous plays and shows at SMC, such as the vocal showcase in April and the "SMC Opera Theatre Workshop: An Opera Extravaganza" this past Friday.

Hernandez' time at SMC has been a learning experience for him vocally.

"I grew up singing in church, so I grew up that way with church music and pop and little bit of jazz, so coming to this new world of classical was definitely fresh and new for me," he said. "It was very refreshing and exciting because it allowed me to explore my instrument in a different way."

Hernandez has seemingly shown growth and consistency throughout his time in the applied-vocal program. After singing opera for only six months, Hernandez has been awarded with a Full Production of Opera award.

"Jonathan is like many of my other upper level students — talented, career-driven and always an asset to the class with his beautiful voice," Goodman said. "One big thing distinguishes him from most others. He has been in the trenches overseas fighting for our country's freedom with his tour-of-duty in Iraq."

Hernandez said he was in the military from 2001 to 2009. singing in multiple ceremonies, plays and showcases while he was in the army.

In addition to being a singer, Hernandez is also a songwriter and is working on his album, which mixes pop and classical music. With Hernandez consistently preparing for shows, he is ready and excited to continue working on his music career.

"I've been singing for such a long time, and I've been wanting to this for a long, long, long time and now some doors are opening up for me, and it feels good," Hernandez said. "It's like, OK this is actually happening, and I'm really excited."