Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

February 4, 2014

JHS grad sings at Super Bowl

JACKSONVILLE — As the first featured female vocal soloist of the United States Marine Band, Gunnery Sergeant Sara Dell’Omo is accustomed to public appearances.

“I've had some pretty amazing assignments, most of them around Washington, D.C., performing for ceremonies or solemn events, but I never expected to sing for anything this televised or for this large of a production,” admitted the 1997 Jacksonville High School graduate.

The gig? Performing at Sunday night's Superbowl game in MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., as part of a combined military chorus, standing in as back-up to soprano Renée Fleming, who performed the National Anthem.

“My grandfather (Coach Dick Sheffield) was a really big part of the Jacksonville high school football program, and growing up in a football family, I'm sure Coach would have never thought that his granddaughter would be the one on the field in a Superbowl,” she laughed.

Her grandmother, Betty Sheffield, whose late husband coached for JISD from 1958-1970, said the family “is just so very proud of Tom and Sara” being part of Superbowl programming.

Tom Dell'Omo, Sara's husband, is a drummer with The United States Army Band, “Pershing's Own,” and was part of the corps “marching the colors,” Sara said.

“We had been waiting and anticipating” the couple's performance, Sheffield said, “and it was a bit of a downer (when she was unable to get a good view on her TV), but there were a lot of pictures on YouTube and Facebook, so it felt like we saw it. And (others) said the sound was wonderful.”

The fact that her granddaughter has made a career from singing isn't anything unusual, Sheffield added.

“She sang in our church at age 11, it was her first public appearance, and I knew she was special then,” she said.

Dell'Omo recalls her parents telling her “you were singing before you could talk.”

According to her profile on the United States Marine Band website, Dell'Omo began musical instruction on piano at age 9, followed by voice at age 16, joining the JHS choir, then under the direction of Larry Cigainero.

After graduating high school, she attended the University of North Texas in Denton and earned a bachelor’s degree in vocal performance in 2001. She subsequently joined the Army, where she was a member of the U.S. Army Band’s Army Chorale at Fort Myer in Arlington, Va.

After a three-year-stint, Dell'Omo joined the Marines, and became a member of “The President's Own” United States Marine Band in 2005.

Saturday's Superbowl performance was a surprise, “especially since I was supposed to be on a concert (tour) already – the conductor took me off the concert, and I said, 'We're going to the Superbowl, aren't we?'” she recalled.

That was mid-January, and during the interim, the combined chorus met twice in the nation's capitol “to learn music, then had a rehearsal in New York on Friday afternoon at the stadium to do the camera and sound,” she said.

The experience was very much a memorable one for Dell'Omo, who has sung the National Anthem at minor league baseball games around the Capitol, “but nothing could compare to the electricity in that stadium Sunday,” she said, describing a deafening roar of the crowds, combined with noise from Apache helicopters flying over and fireworks displays.

“That's what they can't capure on TV: The noice of the fans, the helicopters, the fireworks … I was completely amazed that Renée  was able to keep singing,” she said. “The excitement was just that great.”

Dell'Omo admitted that she was “glad to have that many years of experience, of standing at attention while singing the National Anthem – with that many things going on … that was probably the hardest thing, to keep focus, to not be distracted by anything.”

And, she added, “it helped to have a chorus” surrounding her.

“It was a group of 32 of us, it was nice to not do alone. We had a good group support system,” she said, adding that being on the field with her husband added to the excitement of the performance.

The couple are parents to three children, ages 7, 4 and 3, who stayed with family members back home while Mom and Dad performed at the Superbowl.

“I'm curious to see if they saw us perform, but they know that when Mommy is going to work, she's going to sing, and Daddy's going to drum,” Dell'Omo said.

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Christian Rapper 0419.tif Local rap artist spreads the 411 on Jesus

    "I have seen things in my life that would make Dr. Phil crazy," Jacksonville native, ordained minister and aspiring rap artist Stephen I. Crow Jr. said with a laugh. "That's why I don't label my music specifically as "Christian rap" -- yes, Christians who love rap can listen and hopefully be uplifted, but I truly want and am trying to bring the word and Jesus' message to people who may never have heard it or don't believe it's for them.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tomato Bowl flushed to bottom of priorities

    The historic Tomato Bowl, built in 1940, stands strong on the outside, but according to some people the inside needs a lot of work in order to not be an eyesore.

    April 19, 2014

  • Cherokee County arrest: April 8-14

    The Daily Progress will publish a list of arrests from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office on a weekly basis.

    April 19, 2014

  • Jacksonville College, high schools team up to offer dual credit program

    Jacksonville College is currently offering qualifying high school juniors and seniors attending Jacksonville and New Summerfield ISDs and The Brookhill School in Bullard the opportunity to get head start on their higher education.

    April 18, 2014

  • JISD board members to consider district strategic plan

    The Jacksonville ISD Board of Trustees will meet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, April 21, to discuss a district strategic plan and consider buying new band uniforms.

    April 18, 2014

  • 2 men arrested after standoff in grocery store

    Two men were arrested early Wednesday morning after a standoff at the B&B Foods in Alto.
    According to Alto Police Chief Jeremy Jackson, a person reported seeing two black males at the store just before 3 a.m. Wednesday.

    April 17, 2014

  • Some area entities closed for holiday

    Many area offices and businesses will be closed Friday in observance of Good Friday and Easter.

    April 17, 2014

  • Dispatcher Enge 0416.tif JPD dispatcher killed in wreck

    A dispatcher for the Jacksonville Police Department was killed Monday on her way to work, according to officials.
    Amber Enge, 35, of Whitehouse was pronounced dead at the scene of a one-vehicle wreck Monday afternoon on CR 2177 in Whitehouse.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • CR speed limit changes, E-filling fee top agenda

    On Monday, Cherokee County commissioners set April 28 to hold public hearings concerning the changing speed limits on two county roads.

    April 16, 2014

  • Catherine look.tif Religious lines drawn: Protesters met by members of Church of Wells

    Other than a few community members' voices that rose above the crowd, the protest Saturday against the Church of Wells remained peaceful.

    April 15, 2014 3 Photos