Mt. Lebanon school to sign national anthem at Pirates game
St. Bernard students use hands in tribute to Lascheid at Pirates game
For years, Vince Lascheid’s life revolved around his family, his church and the music he created on the organ to entertain crowds at Pittsburgh Pirates, Penguin and Steeler games.
To honor his memory, about 50 students from the late Lascheid’s home church, St. Bernard Parish Roman Catholic Church School in Mt. Lebanon, will sign the national anthem on the field of PNC Park before the Pirates take on the San Diego Padres Sept. 18.
His daughter, Mindy Lascheid of Scott Township, helped organize the event that honors her father who died in 2009 at the age of 85. She will hold a photograph of her father as she stands on the field while the students, all dressed in black with white gloves, sign the words.
St. Bernard’s School Principal Dan Wagner is thrilled the students will have the opportunity to perform on a major league baseball field. Wagner, along with about 300 family members and supporters, will attend the game, but he will not stand on the field with the students. They are in the spotlight, he says, not him.
The event is not just exposure for the school and a tribute for Lascheid, but it serves as a fund raiser for the school. A portion of the proceeds will also be donated to Shining Stars Foundation of Pittsburgh.
Preparations for the signing event began in the spring, thanks to Terri Sullivan, the school’s music teacher for the past 13 years.
“This is exciting,” Sullivan said. “Exciting for the kids especially because it gives them an opportunity to do something as a group outside of the school and to learn a language that is used in our everyday conversation.”
She liked the idea of signing the national anthem because “it took away the focus of the voices and showed the poetry of the music.”
Students signing at PNC Park attend St. Bernard’s from fourth to eighth grade. Currently, Wagner said there are 323 students in programs pre-school through eighth grade.
Sullivan said signing at the game is another opportunity to be grateful.
“Thank you God for our ears,” she said. “The students realize that I can do this, but I also can still hear.”
Vince Lascheid was well known throughout Pittsburgh as the stadium organist, but he was a faithful member of St. Bernard’s, having played the church organ for Masses and functions for more than three decades.
Mindy Lascheid said her father was self-taught on the organ and piano and, at one time, owned music stores in Bridgeville and Mt. Lebanon. Her mother, Linda Lascheid, will turn 85 in a few days, and was also active in the church community, being known for planting outdoor flowers and for singing in the church choir.
While Mindy Lascheid said she was surrounded by music growing up, she never learned to play the organ or piano from her father. She turned to sign language and that, she said, is the reason the event by the students from St. Bernard’s Church School will bring a tear to her eye as she stands on the baseball field holding her father’s photograph.