“This was just the simple ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ the way it was written, and played the way it was meant to be played.”
This story originally appeared at InspireMore.
Just when we think we’ve heard every version of the National Anthem under the sun, someone comes along and changes our whole perception of the song.
During World War II Peter B. DuPré was stationed in England as a medic for the United States Army. Today, “Harmonica Pete” is the ninety-six year old who is making viral waves thanks to his outstanding performance of the national anthem before a crowd of 26,000 soccer fans.
Pete was asked to perform the anthem on Memorial Day weekend as the U.S. women’s national soccer team played Mexico in its final exhibition match. Next month marks the start of the Women’s World Cup. As the players stood at attention before the game a hush fell over the crowd as the elderly man stepped out onto the stage wearing a “World War II Veteran” hat adorned with pins and medals.
He began the song slowly, and as the familiar notes filled the stadium we soon learned that Pete is more than just a hobbyist — he has some real talent for the humble instrument in his hands. Pete, however, denies any claim to being a true musician. “I am a harmonica player,” he said simply. “I don’t know a darn thing about music, but I know how to make a harmonica talk.”
Indeed he does. Pete’s playing was spot-on, and by the time he reached the song’s notorious crescendo the crowd could no longer keep their appreciation silent. Fans began cheering wildly as the harmonica’s notes stretched to the finale, and before he’d even finished his performance we knew the video would hit viral status the second it reached social media.
Pete says he doesn’t understand the fuss about his performance, stating, “This was just the simple ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ the way it was written, and played the way it was meant to be played.”
After ESPN shared the video online “Harmonica Pete” did indeed go viral, racking up over 9 million views across Twitter and Facebook.
Raise your hands if you get chills every time you hear the “Star-Spangled Banner?” Now add in the fact that this gentleman has lived for almost 100 years and still has the energy and talent to leave us awe-struck and you’ve got a recipe for goosebumps.
Watch “Harmonica Pete” performing the “Star-Spangled Banner” below, and don’t forget to share.