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Basketball player goes viral with violin version of National Anthem

Michaela Williams has been playing the National Anthem with her violin before Southern Columbia basketball games.

CATAWISSA, Pa. — It was January 19, and Southern Columbia freshman basketball player Michaela Williams just finished her junior varsity game against Bloomsburg and was preparing for the start of varsity; nothing new for the 9th grader. 

But before the tip, like she had done several times before, Michaela would play the National Anthem with her violin, a new version she crafted herself after many weeks of practice.

Credit: WNEP

It was amazing! Michaela hitting every note. Our morning news team ran the video the next day. Jon Meyer posted it on his Facebook page, and initially, it received over 100,000 views, then 200,000 until it reached over 1,000,000. Along with the Williams family, Michaela couldn't believe the outpouring of support from all the viewers who watch WNEP and Channel 16.

“When I saw and saw it on the morning news, I kind of didn't believe it at first. I was like ah, I am on the news. But then I realized that everyone has seen my video, and I am at over 1,000,000 views now, and how crazy that is. I just like woke up that morning, and I had gone viral,” said Michaela.

Michaela asked for a violin when she was only three years old. In 4th grade, she played a basic version of the National Anthem at Coach Roth's 400th win. As her music talents grew, so did the new version. Violin teacher Jennifer Updegrove added in some new strings.

“She noticed that I was kind of growing out of my old rendition. And she threw in like a few double stops and trills and stuff. Stuff that she knew that would give me that edge in my playing and make it sound more colorful,” added Michaela.

“It is a gift that she has in music. Thank you for posting that. That was wonderful just to uplift our young people and those that have talent, but her last performance was her best as far as I am concerned,” said Jennifer.

When Michaela isn't out here practicing basketball with her Lady Tigers, she has the violin with her. She tells me she practices the violin every day of the week.

“It's really been a good experience for me to play the violin because it is something that I will have the rest of my life. Like I will always have my love for music. Sports might not get me as far as the violin will,” again said Michaela.

Mark Taylor was quoted as saying, "What a wonderful job this young lady did. Amazing and inspiring."

Judy Judge says, "Beautiful! Never heard the National Anthem played on the violin like that before."

And Glen Anderson saying," Beautiful! My Dad played the violin, and I know he would have been very impressed with your ability. Michaela, keep up your excellent work."

Credit: WNEP

“First off, I would like to say thank you to everyone who commented because all of those comments were very sweet, and they kind of choked me up a little bit when I read them because I realized how many people enjoyed my playing and it was really nice to see all of those people comment,” said Michaela.

Michaela plans to keep playing at the Southern Columbia games and hopes to make it up to PNC Field again and the Railriders with her violin and the rendition of the National Anthem.

Check out WNEP’s YouTube channel.

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