On Friday, the Heritage Foundation hosted a dinner for attendees of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC). Guests of the Ronald Reagan dinner included Omarosa Manigault and Sheriff David Clarke.
While President Ronald Reagan’s son, Michael Reagan, was the anticipated highlight of the night, one woman stole the show.
After the invocation and the Pledge of Allegiance, an announcement was made that the national anthem performer would not be able to make it. Instead of putting a recording on, or cutting the song altogether, a woman shot her hand in the air and said, “I’ll do it.”
Every head turned and eyes followed as the woman in the orange flower dress and black cap-sleeve sweater took the stage.Image Credit: Independent Journal Review/Jenni Fink
Andrea Thornock, an opera singer whose career has spanned 30 years, lead the entire dinner in an inspirational rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.” After the dinner concluded, Independent Journal Review caught up with Thornock to learn a little bit more about the woman behind the beautiful voice.
When she heard there wasn’t going to be a performer, the former professional opera singer considered it a “calling” that meant she had to take the stage. She told IJR:
“As soon as I heard him say, ‘we always have the National Anthem at a Reagan Dinner, but…’ Before he even finished his sentence I jumped out of my chair and hoped that when I got up there he would accept that.”
She cited the last verse as the most powerful point in the song and advised every American to take the time to read the lyrics of the song in their entirety, not just the well-known first verse. She cited a specific line in the fourth verse, “then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, and this be our motto – ‘In God is our trust.'”
Thornock is admittedly “patriotic.” As tears began to form, and her voice began to catch, she described where her patriotism comes from:
“I’ve been a musician my whole life, but before I was an opera singer I was an American. I’m an Army brat, my dad is a Vietnam vet. He is my hero, and having my dad be gone a lot for our country, it let me know how important America is, and our role in the world.”
As a regular attendee at CPAC, she felt a distinct difference between this year and previous ones. Thornock said:
“There’s extra vibrancy now. It’s an inspiration to get new resolve to say ‘we can do this, we are the true spirit of America, and it is our responsibility to keep that legacy going.'”
While many CPAC attendees joined the “Trump Train,” early on, it took Thornock a little longer to get on board. Without wanting to “throw away her vote,” and knowing she couldn’t vote for the Democratic candidate, the singer turned to God for advice. She told IJR:
“I had been praying about what to do about the election, and who to vote for. The husband of my friend in Northern Virginia was the personal physician of Mike Pence for 25 years. My friend said, ‘Listen, Pence is a true, straight right conservative. He is honest, trustworthy, and loyal. He says his prayers and reads his scriptures.’ That reassured me, and I decided that if Trump, on his own accord, chose Mike Pence as a running mate, as his partner, that tells me something about Trump.”
Despite being “hesitant,” and ultimately voting for President Donald Trump because his name was next to Vice President Mike Pence’s, she’s now “grateful” and has a “renewed hope” that Trump will “do what’s right for America.”
Given her upbringing and love for America, when it comes to the national anthem, it seems Thornock will always answer the call of the stage.