By LARRY VAUGHT
Getting to sing the national anthem in Rupp Arena was a thrill that Samantha Daugherty struggled to even explain.
“The crowd was incredible. I really was not expecting that many people,” she said. “When we did the sound check, there was not anybody there. I was not nervous at all. We walked out to sign and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh.’ There were so many people.”
Daugherty and her twin sister, Katelyn Daugherty, — who perform as Magnolia Vale — sang the national anthem before the Kentucky-Louisville women’s basketball game.
They both grew up Kentucky basketball fans in Marion County and were high school teammates of former UK standout Makayla Epps.
They had sang the national anthem before a Cincinnati Reds game at Great American Ballpark.
“It’s kind of different singing the national anthem in your home state,” Samantha said. “When you know more people, you are more nervous. It was just like a lot of small towns in Kentucky coming together and listening to us sing. With is being Kentucky-Louisville, that just made it more special. We have enjoyed basketball since I can remember and know what a rivalry it is. Just being part of that was amazing.”
As always, their parents were there but UK officials also told them they didn’t have a limit on who they could invite to the game.
“We ended up getting 60 tickets,” Samantha said. “We had a whole fan section of family there. No matter where we sing, we can count on family being there. Even in high school, we always the biggest fan section because of our family.”
They performed at a UK football pregame football concert two years but I had never thought about singing in Rupp Arena when they got a call a few weeks before the game asking if they would like to sing the national anthem.
“We networked with people behind the scenes when we did the football game and the same lady who contacted us about football contacted us about this,” Samantha aid. “Just knowing who has played on that (Rupp Arena) court, getting to step on that same court and sing was just amazing.”
The two sisters have been doing their own nursing home tour during December to try and spread holiday cheer to those who need uplifting.
“We have been doing at least one or two per week. It’s special to us. We know the resident have family that might come by but we wanted to bring some holiday spirit to make them feel special,” Samantha said. “It has been so much fun. We were Elf and Santa Claus costumes and they all think it is great.”