By Laurie O’Brien
It’s not every day that the “Today Show” calls asking if you’re interested in appearing on a live broadcast, but that’s exactly what happened to the women of the Jet Cities Chorus this past Monday. Now the 50 member a cappella group, based in Federal Way, is scheduled to appear on the daily NBC show this Friday morning.
The invitation came a mere two weeks after chorus member Melissa Martin put pen to paper and wrote a short little song in support of her favorite team, the Seattle Seahawks. It wasn’t anything profound, she laughs, “I actually came up with the idea when I was in the shower!” Thinking about how integral fans are to the Seahawks success, the Tacoma resident decided it was time for the “12th Man” to get some recognition. With that in mind, she sat down and jotted down some lyrics and came up with a tune. She debuted it for her family during half time of the Seahawks-Saints play-off game on January 11.
“Usually when I do stuff like this, my family just laughs and tells me to get out of the way of the TV, but this time they actually told me I was on to something,” says Martin. That’s when she called and asked if her chorus could take 10 minutes of rehearsal time the next Monday to learn the song, record it, and then, maybe, someone could post it somewhere.
Martin figured it was safe to suggest the idea to Jet Cities’ director, Teresa McCafferty, because she knew the Covington resident is about as rabid a Seahawks fan as they get. “She said yes without even hearing it!” Per the pair’s instructions, the entire group came to rehearsal on January 13 decked out in Seahawks fan gear. After singing through the song a mere two times, a guest held up McCafferty’s iPad and recorded the women singing the song with papers still in hand. “It was fun, and that would have been enough, but these things sometimes take on a life of their own,” says McCafferty. When she got home that night, she posted the blurry video on Facebook, thinking it was a fun diversion and hoping that her chorus members had a good time recording it.
Meanwhile, Martin put out a request asking her chorus friends to share the video anywhere and everywhere they could think of, and share it they did. Members started posting all over social media and sharing their song with radio and television stations. One member put it on the Seahawks fan page. Soon, it was getting airplay on both radio and television stations around town. Before a week had passed, Sports Radio KJR had more or less adopted it as the “official” 12th man song, and was giving it daily play.
Then came an invite from KJR “12th Man Mania” show host Brian Abker for the chorus to come be his in-studio guests for a live performance. “A group of about 25 of us made it up to Seattle on January 23 and were featured, along with Branton Sherman, Richard Sherman’s brother, and Seattle Super Fan Big Lo,” explains McCafferty.
The chorus was in the studio for about three hours, and during breaks in programming members were able to visit with the host and the other guests. Martin, McCafferty and a few others were interviewed on-air about the song and the chorus, and then they performed their – now fully memorized – song, to close out the show.
“We must have impressed Big Lo because he said, ‘you have written THE 12th man song,’” says Martin. “He wants everyone in the stands to sing it at the home games next year.” After hearing the chorus sing some of their regular four part a cappella repertoire after the show, the Super Fan even said he and event promoter Kenny Burns wanted to come to their next performance. Later in the week, they extended an invitation for a small group to perform at his Super Bowl Party at the Hawk’s Nest during the big game. But he didn’t stop there.
“It was Big Lo who called NBC to tell them about us,” says Martin. The NBC show was looking for some Seattle fans to compete in an on air battle with their Denver Bronco counterparts, and Big Lo, as Seattle’s bona fide Super Fan knew exactly who could help whip the crowd into a frenzy. The call from NBC came on Monday afternoon, and at rehearsal that evening the members joyfully accepted. Martin stood on the risers just beaming, “Wow … just … wow! Who would have thunk it?!”
So this Friday morning, the members of Jet Cities will troop to a location near CenturyLink Field for a 2:45 a.m. call. (East coast programming begins at 4 a.m. Pacific.) They know they can show the country which team has the best fans in the NFL. All it takes is the 12th man … or woman.
You can hear “I’m a True 12th Man” on YouTube.
Learn more about Jet Cities chorus on their website.
You can hear the 12th Man Mania radio program here.
All photos courtesy Ginny Christensen.