Kalihi girl's powerful rendition of ‘Star Spangled Banner' wows audience

Arshiel Calatrava
Arshiel Calatrava
Warren Morton
Warren Morton
Arshiel Calatrava
Arshiel Calatrava

By Leland Kim - bio | email

HONOLULU (KHNL)  -  One of the highlights of Friday's statehood events was the young lady who sang "The Star Spangled Banner" in the morning.  Her performance shocked the audience.   You have to see it to believe it.

Arshiel Calatrava is a freshman at Farrington High School in Kalihi, and when she walked on stage, no one expected that voice to come out of her small body.

"Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light.  What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming," sang Calatrava, a'cappella.

With those words, she stunned the audience at the Hawaii Convention Center.  The fourteen-year-old from Kalihi was handpicked for this special honor by the governor's office.

"I thought it was going to be a cute performance, but when Arshiel started singing the national anthem, as a military member, I was proud and it was moving," said Warren Morton, an Air National Guard member.

And she was just getting started.

"And the rocket's red glare!  The bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flag was still there," Calatrava continued.

This phenom began singing when she was just three years old.

"I'm not sure where it came from," said Calatrava. "But it's just practicing."

Well, practice has definitely made perfect, judging by the reaction of this largely military audience.

"It was a feeling of pride, service to my country, to my family, to all my loved ones," said Morton. "It was quite overwhelming actually."

"I felt very honored because I know we're never going to have this until fifty years later so I felt very honored to be a part of this event," said Calatrava.

And she saved the best for last.

"And the home of the brave!!!" Calatrava finished, as the audience roared with applause.

"I was like, I did it. yeah!" she said.  "I was like, I can't believe I'm actually here performing for this very special event.  I'm actually proud to be an American here. I felt very proud."

The pride of Hawaii, the soul of America.

Calatrava is now working on her debut album.  To watch her performance of "The Star Spangled Banner," click the link on this page.