Before Gov.-elect Nathan Deal takes the stage today to deliver his inaugural address, former Augustan Timothy Boyd Miller will welcome him with a rendition of God Bless America .
In a way, baseball led him there.
As the story goes, Miller said, Deal wanted a strong male voice to provide musical entertainment at the inauguration ceremony. A member of the inauguration committee mentioned this to a friend, who is also a friend of Miller.
"(He wanted) something like the guy who sings at the Braves games," Miller said. Miller's friend suggested they ask the guy who sings at the Braves games, so Miller got the call.
"It's definitely an honor," he said.
Miller, who graduated from the Academy of Richmond County in 1998, sang during the Atlanta Braves' seventh-inning stretch at 15 home games last season.
Miller said the club wanted to follow the New York Yankees' lead and hire a professional singer. Various other members of the Atlanta Opera had performed the honors the year before, but he was asked to return for the 2010 season.
Music has been Miller's life since boyhood, though he never saw himself as an opera singer. The son of a minister, he sang at Harmony Baptist Church as a child, "which is probably where I was first told I had talent," he said.
In high school, he joined the band and sang in the chorus. After a year at Paine College, he went to Morehouse College to study vocal performance. He returned to Morehouse to teach voice after earning a master's degree at Mannes College in New York.
He is a staff soloist at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church in Atlanta and will perform in an upcoming Atlanta Opera production of Porgy and Bess.
Today's inauguration will be another career highlight, he said. Another was when he sang at Coretta Scott King's funeral in February 2006.
"It was probably the first major event that I've done," Miller said. "It's one of those things that you really don't realize how important it was until sometime later. When you're out there and the lights are on, it's all a blur."
Miller aspires to have an international opera career one day. He has already had an opportunity to perform in Paris, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Italy.
He hopes singing at the inauguration will gain him more exposure.
"Several events have given me the idea that I'm on the right path, and this is one of those moments I will cherish and never forget," he said.