Northwood senior Bethany Huang led a virtual choir in “Graduate Together.”

Northwood pianist leads national anthem for America’s graduation broadcast

by TOMOYA SHIMURA

Northwood High senior and pianist Bethany Huang performed the national anthem for more than 7 million people last month as she kicked off a virtual commencement event that aired during prime time on all major TV networks.

Huang was selected to lead a virtual choir in “Graduate Together,” simulcast on ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC to honor the nation’s 3.7 million high school seniors.

“I feel like this is the biggest thing I’ve done, so my brain still hasn’t processed it yet,” says Huang, 18, who has performed at Carnegie Hall and in Slovakia. “It was a totally different experience than I’ve ever had.”

Some of her friends didn’t know she’d be in the show.

“They were sending me photos and videos of me,” Huang says. “They were like, ‘I just turned around, and you were on TV. What’s going on?’”

Huang, who started playing the piano at 6, says she’s benefited from Irvine Unified School District’s robust music program.

“It’s amazing how many talented musicians there are here in Irvine,” Huang says. “It just blows my mind.”

Her music teachers — Henry Miller at Sierra Vista Middle School and Ben Case at Northwood High — have been Grammy Music Educators of the Year semifinalists.

“They supported me and guided me in the piano from day one and really made me want to pursue music professionally,” Huang says.

Huang plans to double major in music and international studies at UC Irvine.