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Singer Neal E. Boyd looking forward to meeting president at St. Louis event
Opera singer Neal E. Boyd is an equal opportunity performer when it comes to politicians. The Sikeston, Mo., native and winner of 2008's season of "America's Got Talent" has sung for politicians and presidents of both parties. On Wednesday, the major-label artist who keeps close ties to his home region will sing for the sitting president at a fundraising event for Sen. Claire McCaskill in St. Louis.
Boyd said he was contacted by McCaskill's staff initially to perform at her event, where a "special guest" would be in attendance -- President Barack Obama.
"I found out the same day everybody else did who the special guest was," Boyd said.
Boyd's first chance to sing before a president came at former governor Mel Carnahan's funeral in 2000, which President Bill Clinton attended. Since then he's sung at events where former president George W. Bush was present. Most recently, he sang the national anthem at a Houston Texans NFL game, where both Bush and his father, former president George H.W. Bush, were in attendance.
"For some reason I keep getting myself in these situations, but it's a very proud position to be in," Boyd said in a telephone interview Monday. "It's an honor to sing for the president, it really is, because it's the highest office in the country, and the guy's the leader of the free world."
Boyd called Obama's 2008 election "a moment for history." He said he looks forward to meeting Obama "and to shake his hand and tell him I'm praying for him."
Boyd said he'll perform for about 40 minutes, and his set will include his hit cover of Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the USA" and the aria that won over the "America's Got Talent" audience, "Nessun Dorma."
Boyd said he's scheduled to sing at Rep. Jo Ann Emerson's annual picnic event July 31 at the Arena Building in Cape Girardeau.