DONNA SACHET HITS HIGH C FOR HOMETOWN GIANTS – BELTING ‘OH SAY CAN YOU SEE’! FOR THE NATION – ON SCENE WITH BILL WILSON

BY BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson © 2009

There are still many barriers to the LGBT community to be broken, but as of September 29, there is one less. On that night Donna Sachet became the first drag queen to sing the National anthem before a major league baseball game.

It was an exciting, nerve racking, fun evening, that began with incredibly good timing.

Having gotten my press credential I entered the ballpark with no idea where I was going. I followed the signs that said media, but soon realized I should ask someone where to go.

So I asked the next person I saw with security on his shirt and an official clipboard. (Every time you go through a door or gate there is someone who writes down your credential number on a clipboard.) I told him that I wanted to go on the field to photograph the singing of the national anthem.

He told me that I wanted to go to the double doors that were down the hallway. There would be someone to escort me to the field. He said I was early enough that even staff hadn’t arrived yet.

I found the doors and when I looked through there was Donna Sachet doing a sound check.

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The clock on the scoreboard reads 4:23 as Donna does her sound check.
Bill Wilson © 2009

While Donna went home to change I spent an hour walking around waiting for the Donna Sachet Fan Club pre game party to start.

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Flags of the state, nation, ball club and city flying above ATT Park.
Bill Wilson © 2009

Gary Virginia, President of the Krewe de Kinque organized an outing in support of Donna which included tickets for the game and a pre-game reception at the Acme Chophouse at Willie Mays Plaza and an after game party at the Edge Bar in the Castro.

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Keeping with Mardi Gras tradition orange and black (Giants colors) beads
were handed out by Deena Dawn.

Bill Wilson © 2009

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Gary Virginia making last minute arrangements on his cell phone.
Bill Wilson © 2009

With shouts of “Break a Leg!” from her fans, Donna said farewell as she prepared to make her way to the ball park. Finding her seat she was able to get a few minutes of relaxation.

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Donna Sachet in the stands at ATT Park.
Bill Wilson © 2009

I made my way to the field still expecting at any moment that someone would challenge my right to be there.

I found a position behind home plate. The Giants were honoring sports writer Nick Peters who won the Major League’s 2009 JG Taylor Spink award by renaming their media interview room in his honor.

On the field were baseball greats, members of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda.

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Tim Lincecum (right) is acknowledged by the crowd during the pre game ceremony honoring sports writer Nick Peters. Larry Baer (left), President of the SF Giants,
Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Orlando Cepeda and others look on.

Bill Wilson © 2009

The Giants mascot Lou Seal walked through the crowd posing for photos and knocking the hat off an unsuspecting fan.

When he got to where I was I asked if he would mind posing with Donna. He said “Who do you mean?” I said the person in black standing behind you. He turns and looks and then turns to me and says, “Isn’t that the lady who does the show at the Starlight Room?”

When I said yes, he said, “I took my wife to see her. She is great.”

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Donna gets Lou’s Seal of Approval!
Bill Wilson © 2009

After giving Nick Peters a team jersey with the number 47 on it, the number of year Mr. Peters covered the Giants, there was an on field presentation of a check to a local Catholic church for their charitable programs.

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Donna Sachet nervously awaits the moment.
Bill Wilson © 2009

Then without fanfare or music the moment did arrive.

The announcer asked people to rise and remove their hats and place their hands over their hearts as Donna Sachet sings the national anthem.

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“What So Proudly We Hailed.”
Bill Wilson © 2009

After what Donna described as “the longest two minutes of my life” it was over.

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The Donna Sachet Fan Club (the good seat branch) respond to the national anthem by their favorite.
Bill Wilson © 2009

Walking back through the hallways Donna was received many congratulations from people she knew and didn’t know.

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Larry Baer (right) President and Chief Operating Officer of the SF Giants
poses with Donna and other staff members.

Bill Wilson © 2009

After finding a well-deserved drink, Donna had a chance to relax and watch a few innings of the baseball game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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Donna enjoys the first inning.
Bill Wilson © 2009

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Left Fielder Eugenio Velez makes the first score of the game after a wild pitch
ends up in the Giants’ dugout. (The white spot above the catcher’s head is the ball.)

Bill Wilson © 2009

The evening was capped with an after game party at the Edge Bar celebrating both Donna performance and the Giants’ 8 to 4 win over the Diamondbacks.

Bartenders in appropriate t-shirts commemorating Donna historical performance dispensed drinks renamed in Donna’s honor.

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Donna with Edge bartender
Bill Wilson © 2009

A beautiful and successful evening for all involved.

See Related: ON SCENE WITH BILL WILSON

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BILL WILSON
Sentinel Photojournalist
Bill Wilson is a veteran freelance photographer whose work is published by San Francisco and Bay Area media. Bill embraced photography at the age of eight. In recent years, his photos capture historic record of the San Francisco LGBT community in the Bay Area Reporter (BAR). Bill has contributed to the Sentinel for the past five years. Email Bill Wilson at wfwilson@sbcglobal.net.

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