Video: The ZOOMers Sing at Fenway
By Cristina Quinn & Elizabeth Deane
June 22, 2012
BOSTON — Today is Kid Nation Day at Fenway, a day where the little Red Sox fans get to hang out at the park and meet the players. Back in 1999, the cast of the WGBH kids program ZOOM got the chance of a lifetime — to perform the national anthem at Fenway. We were curious: where are they now?
The stands were filled with parents and pint-sized Red Sox fans eating Cracker Jacks and wearing baseball caps they’d eventually grow into. The field was filled with baseball greats like Pedro, Nomar and Wally the Green Monster, signing autographs and taking photos. The WGBH Archives has video footage from that day, shot by ZOOM producer Jim Johnston on his home video camera. Alisa, David, Jared, Lynese, Pablo and Zoe are wearing oversized matching jackets with the word ZOOM embroidered on them — and they're barely able to contain their excitement.
Looking back, "it was pretty surreal," Pablo Velez said. "The fact that I was singing the national anthem at Fenway Park was like a dream come true … I’m a huge baseball fan, and I’d never been to Fenway Park, and I got to do it with a group of friends."
So his very first experience at Fenway Park was in the field. "Yeah," Velez said, laughing. "That’s a pretty good way to go, first time around."
Sadly, not all the memories of this ZOOM family are that bright. In 2006, ZOOM cast member Jared Nathan was killed in a car accident. Nathan loved the Red Sox and Fenway Park so much that a friend bought a commemorative brick at the ballpark in his name.
Zoe Costello said she wasn't that nervous. "It's kind of hard to believe as I say that because I don’t have a singing voice for sure, but it was just too awesome to be nervous, if that makes any sense," she said. "I just remember sort of being in awe and standing there and looking at how green it was and how colorful it was, and there was such a warm reception of us being there."
To this day, it's one of her most magical experiences, she said. "I was just thinking at the time, like this is one of the coolest things that I’ve ever done. And it still is. I mean, I was 10 at the time and now I’m 25. And it still is."
Velez had similar emotions. "Never in my life had I experienced anything like that," he said. "To be at Fenway Park, singing the national anthem, and then to sign autographs, take pictures — it was just so crazy, so unbelievable. But it was a blast … I’ll never forget that moment."
p.s. Where are they? Velez is now working in film production in Los Angeles and Costello is an actress living in New York.
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