JOHNSTOWN, Pa. — A Johnstown dad has become a social media sensation after a video of him singing the national anthem at a high school football game went viral.
Mark Lux decided to fill in when “The Star-Spangled Banner” couldn’t be played Monday at his daughter’s college football game in Greater Johnstown against Somerset Area.
“I was already up, filming my daughter, and I said ‘Why not just sing it?’ ” he said.
In a video taken by football parent Jayne Hanuska, Lux can be seen performing the song solo at Trojan Stadium. This video was shared on social media platform TikTok, where it garnered 3.8 million views, over 800,000 likes, 17,900 comments and thousands of shares as of Friday. On Facebook, the video had amassed over 600 likes, 200 comments and 432 shares.
Typically, a musical rendition of the song is played before the games. But the normal announcer was unavailable to play the anthem, and an announcement relaying this information was made.
That’s when Lux, a U.S. Navy veteran from a military family, stepped in.
He said he started singing and assumed everyone would join him. But that was not the case.
“It was the most nervous I’ve ever been in my entire life,” Lux said.
The father’s performance is greeted with enthusiastic applause at the end of the video.
“We need more people like Mark in the world today,” Hanuska said.
She was impressed with Lux’s performance and praised the bravery it took to sing in front of all those people.
Hanuska said she started recording her singing because she recorded everything from her daughter’s senior year playing the sport.
“I wanted to capture everything I could from the football season,” she said.
Lux is a Bishop McCort Catholic High School graduate who has been singing for many years and has performed with several bands. Today, he sings with the acoustic groups Unplugged, Train Stop 6 and Lux and Company.
As an employee of Best Windows and Doors, he also provided the voiceover for the company’s advertisements.
Lux said the national anthem had a special meaning to him and recalled asking his father why it was played before sporting events.
Her father told her it was because “it’s a story of real Americans who never gave up.”
“That’s the spirit you want your teammates to have,” Lux said. “Never give up and keep fighting.”
As for the outpouring of respect, praise and attention he received, Lux said it was overwhelming and humbling.
“It really reflects where we are in life that it is possible for one person with one voice to make a difference in this world,” he said.
Joshua Byers is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at 814-532-5054. Follow him on Twitter @Journo_Josh.