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Washington Nationals Singer Brings Mississippi College Connections

D.C. Washington, Photo by Lexey Swall/Genesis
D.C. Washington, Photo by Lexey Swall/Genesis

Belting out the National Anthem during game three of the 2019 World Series provided a thrill of a lifetime for D.C. Washington.

After all, his unforgettable version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Nationals Park was the first World Series played in D.C. in 86 years.

This immensely talented Mississippi College alumnus with a master’s in music education is known as the singing voice of Washington sports teams.

The Falls Church, Virginia resident performed the anthem at numerous pro sporting events over the years. His singing appearances range from home games for the NFL’s Washington Redskins to the NBA’s Wizards and pro soccer contests.

D.C. Washington’s next big assignment? Singing the National Anthem moments before the Washington Redskins battle the Philadelphia Eagles on December 15. With kickoff set for noon, the football game before 91,700 fans at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland will be broadcast on FOX TV stations.

News of his World Series appearance before Washington Nationals fans in October spread hundreds of miles away to his alma mater in Clinton, Mississippi.

“It’s great to see D.C. energetically using his talent in such an inspiring way,” says Angela Willoughby, chair of the Mississippi College Music Department.

Dwight Clyde Washington is among many MC music grads who succeeded. They’ve received applause as teachers, church musicians, opera singers, choral directors, band directors, composers, pianists and more in a deeply competitive field.

“I’m never surprised to find MC music graduates using their expertise and talent, wherever they may be,” Willoughby added.

Dwight Clyde Washington was born and raised in McGehee, Arkansas or 1,000 miles away from Washington, D.C. His hometown in the Natural State sits 145 miles from Clinton, the home of America’s second oldest Baptist college.

He’s gone by the name D.C. pretty much his whole life, except for when he lived in Mississippi and served in the Army. He was known here as Dwight Washington.

At the time, Washington was stationed at a Central Mississippi Army recruiting office, was married and had a young son. He was assigned to the Jackson Army Recruiting Battalion in the Spring of 1982. He was an Army captain back then and needed to fulfill a professional development requirement by getting a master’s degree.

A University of Central Arkansas alumnus, Washington selected MC because he grew up in a Baptist church. “I am glad I did. I had some incredible instructors. One of my lasting joys is meeting Dr. Richard Joiner. He was my voice teacher and I owe a lot to him and his teaching, but also from him as an individual.”

Now retired, Joiner enjoyed teaching him applied voice during his two years in graduate school. The Clintonian was also a choral studies professor and chaired the department. “I noticed his voice potential. He had a clear bright tenor voice with much potential for career singing.”

Back then, Dwight Washington wanted to become a music teacher. “But I remember urging him not to discount solo performance as well, that he was loaded with potential.”

Joiner advised the Army soldier to open up and “let his voice go.”

Washington listened to his Mississippi College professor. The 63-year-old Arkansas native has been a regular National Anthem singer at Washington Nationals baseball games – going back to 2007.

Since the Washington Nationals defeated the Houston Astros in Game 7 to win the 2019 World Series on October 30, his singing performances are getting more media visibility.

Local newspapers refer to D.C. as the “best National Anthem singer.”

Washington retired from the U.S. Army after a 22-year career, stepping down as a lieutenant colonel. He now works as a defense contractor in an area with huge military installations, including the Pentagon. D.C. leads worship at Immanuel Bible Church in Springfield, Virginia.

He grew up in a singing family in the South and played the French horn in high school. When living in New York starting in 1978, D.C. admired opera singer Robert Merrill who performed the National Anthem at Yankee Stadium for 30 years.

Like Merrill, his wonderful voice is a big hit with fans at MLB games and other events.

Richard Joiner lauds D.C. Washington as a “marvelous leader, disciplined, yet able to inspire others with his leadership and voice.”

While D.C. shines bright with awesome “Star-Spangled Banner” performances before thousands of sports fans, the patriotic Army veteran also cherishes appearing at smaller venues. “I’ve done anthems for Little League games,” says the MC grad. He seldom turns down requests to sing.

His Christian faith is a huge part of his life. He will never forget the role Mississippi College played. “I am proud to call MC my alma mater.”