15-year-old guitarist from Papillion plays national anthem in front of 65,000 people at NFL game

Aidan Fisher doesn’t shy away from a crowd.

The Papillion teen performed the national anthem on electric guitar Sunday before more than 65,000 at an NFL game between the Cleveland Browns and Cincinnati Bengals.

Fisher, a 15-year-old sophomore at Papillion-La Vista South High, said he wasn’t too nervous for his performance at FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland.

He’s got experience playing his rock ‘n’ roll rendition of the anthem before tens of thousands.

His résumé includes performances at games of the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals and Creighton Bluejays, as well as at the College World Series and a NASCAR event at Texas Motor Speedway.

Fisher said he is grateful for the opportunity to perform the song.

“It’s an honor,” he said. “I have a lot of pride in our country.”

His music background started with piano lessons when he was 6. The next year he began lessons on the bass guitar and then moved on to electric guitar, which became his passion.

His musical inspiration and influences are mostly from rock bands of the 1970s and 1980s including Van Halen, Led Zeppelin, Guns N’ Roses, Kiss and others.

His dad, Chris, also taught him a few things on guitar, including a basic rendition of the national anthem.

Aidan Fisher began developing his own take on the song, a version that seems just right for big sporting events, his dad said.

“It’s a nice balance of a little bit of higher energy national anthem, but still respectful to the tradition of the song,” his father said.

Aidan Fisher first performed the anthem publicly at an Omaha Storm Chasers game when he was 9, and other events followed.

His guitar skills began attracting national attention at age 11 when he was invited on stage in Kansas City to trade licks with the guitarist for Steel Panther, a glam rock band.

A video of his performance posted on YouTube drew millions of views, and caught the attention of the people who book musicians to perform the anthem at major venues.

His dad also sent a disc of his son’s performances to professional sports teams, including the Cleveland Browns, who then contacted the Fishers.

He’s gotten good reviews.

“We were fortunate to have such a young, talented person like Aidan join us for our pregame ceremonies and add to our fan experience on Sunday,” Rob McBurnett, a spokesman for the Browns, said in an email.

Chris Fisher said his son is just a regular kid. He’s a good student, plays on his school tennis team, performs with the school show choir and likes mountain biking and fishing.

Aidan Fisher said he hopes to pursue a music career after college.

“I want to see how far this takes me,’’ he said.

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