Singing for the Timberwolves a 'surreal' experience

A 2021 trip to the Twin Cities included Emma Bushinger's second honor of singing for a professional sports team.

Emma Bushinger belts out the National Anthem at the Wadena-Deer Creek boys basketball game Thursday, Feb. 5, in Wadena. She made the appearance after making a trip to the Twin Cities earlier in the day to sing the anthem and be recorded for use at a future Timberwolves game. Photo courtesy Doug Dutke

"O say can you see" a singing dream becoming a reality? For Wadena-Deer Creek senior Emma Bushinger the honor was singing the National Anthem for a Timberwolves game.

While she didn’t step out onto the court for a live performance, the Timberwolves background, lights and camera were excitement enough for her to “go for it.”

“It was kind of surreal since it happened so fast,” Emma said about how the team contacted her on Sunday and she performed on Thursday, Feb. 4.

But the hope for the performance was a long time coming as a Timberwolves, basketball and sports fan.

“I really couldn’t believe that it was actually happening,” Emma said. “Singing for the Timberwolves is something I’ve wanted to do for such a long time and I’ve been working really hard on my singing and the National Anthem and it was just kind of surreal that it was really paying off in that moment.”


Emma Mayo Clinic Square Singing 2021.jpg
Bushinger was recorded at a conference room in the Mayo Clinic Square. Photo courtesy of Julie Bushinger

The recorded video will be played for a specific Timberwolves game, though the Bushingers don’t know which one yet. The teams present at the Target Center will watch the video, and will be shared with the family afterwards. The video is usually not broadcast on television, as Emma said.

“We’re just really proud of her for having, I guess, the courage to go do it, as much as the ability to be able to do it,” her mom Julie Bushinger said.

Emma previously sang “God Bless America” live for a Minnesota Twins game in April 2019, which also kicked off the process for the Timberwolves opportunity. She submitted an audio recording of her singing in January 2020 and awaited a year-long response since the COVID-19 pandemic ended the season early.

“That was a really huge experience of course because she got to do that live in front of so many people but this one was really neat too,” Julie said.

Emma even rushed home to sing the National Anthem live once again at the boys basketball game in Wadena that night. The devoted singer roused the crowds before the boys, including her brother Charlie, finished the night with a win.


Emma Timberwolves Singing 2021.jpg
As a long time singer and Timberwolves fan, Bushinger described the experience as "surreal." Photo courtesy of Julie Bushinger

Rebecca Mitchell started as a Digital Content Producer for the Post Bulletin in August 2022. She specializes in enhancing online articles as well as education, feature and health reporting.
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