Wentzel Is UT’s New ‘National Anthem’ Man

KNOXVILLE — University of Tennessee football fans will hear a new voice singing the national anthem before home games this season.

Dr. Gary Sousa, director of UT’s Pride of the Southland Band, has announced that Andrew Wentzel, UT assistant professor of music, will sing the “Star Spangled Banner” with the band this year.

He takes over the singing role from George Bitzas, who retired last year after 28 years as the official singer.

Wentzel will make his debut with the band Sept. 29 at the UT football game against LSU. Grammy award-winning recording artist Lee Greenwood will sing the national anthem Saturday with the band at the season opener against Syracuse.

In his sixth year at UT, Wentzel has received critical acclaim for his performances in opera houses and concert halls around the world.

One of the most active bass-baritones in the nation, Wentzel has performed with the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Opera, Theatre of St. Louis, Florida Grand Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Portland Opera, San Diego Opera and Washington Opera.

He also has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony and Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Wentzel maintains an active studio at UT and serves as administrator of the Knoxville Opera Studio. He holds the master’s degree in voice performance from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles.