Melissa Dahir has always been a singer. Not necessarily a professional, but when the occasion arises, she is not shy about belting out a tune. She sings at her church and has been known to sing at a wedding or two.
But in the past couple of years, she’s become known throughout Reno as one of the go-to singers when an event needs someone for one of the most challenging of songs. And as quickly as you can say “Oh Say Can You See,” Dahir can get your patriotic juices flowing before one of your favorite sporting events.
Dahir, a Sparks resident, recently sang the National Athem at UNR’s CBI championship game at the Lawlor Events Center against Moorehead State on April 1.
“I’ve done it a few times,” said Dahir, an IGT employee and worship leader at Freedom Fellowship Church in Sparks. “It started a few years back. I sent them an audition video and they liked it. They asked if I would be willing to do one of the volleyball games, then they asked if I could do a couple of basketball games.”
Soon enough, she was doing two or three basketball games per season.
“Even though they don’t televise the national anthem, it’s fun to do those TV games because there usually is a big crowd,” she said.
But it didn’t end there. Her UNR gig has also led her to singing the national anthem of both the Aces and Bighorns.
“As a singer, it’s a very challenging song,” said Dahir, who says the Whitney Houston version at Super Bowl XXV in 1991 was her favorite. “The range is very low and very high. If you start in the wrong place, you’re stuck. It’s very tricky.”
Plus there are a lot of lyrics that have been known to trip up even professional singers, not to mention that it’s sung to kick off sporting events.
“It usually comes with a bit a pressure,” she said. “Your starting off a sports game and the crowd wants it to be good. Different vocalists will put there own style on it. Personally, I like to have fun with it, but I don’t change it up too much.”
Baseball offers its own challenge, she says, because of the echo.
Dahir, who is married to Sparks city councilman Kristopher Dahir, has lived in Sparks for nearly eight years. She and her husband operate Freedom Fellowship on Pyramid Highway. Besides sporting events, Melissa Dahir also sings the national anthem at many of the veteran’s events that she and her husband attend.
“She’s been singing even before i met her,” Kristopher Dahir said, “And we’ve been married 23 years. She’s the best part of my life. She’s amazing.”