Studdard, Holliday highlight music portion of Urban Invitational at Minute Maid Park

Several years have passed since Ruben Studdard burst onto the scene as the winner of “American Idol,” but his booming voice and smooth style make his voice something few have forgotten.

Studdard will sing the national anthem at the 2012 Urban Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 18 at Minute Maid Park, a tournament that will showcase five historically black colleges and will be featured live on MLB Network and MLB.com.

The star power doesn’t end with the anthem. In addition to 2003 “Idol” winner Studdard, who will perform before the second game at 3 p.m. CT, Grammy and Tony award-winning singer Jennifer Holliday will “America the Beautiful” prior to the third game of the tournament at 7 p.m. CT.

The Urban Invitational, the annual, round-robin collegiate baseball tournament designed to give Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and their baseball programs national exposure, is relocating to Houston and will feature five HBCUs – the most-ever in the tournament’s five-year history. The Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park will be the primary site of the tournament on Friday, February 17 and Sunday, February 19, while the games on Saturday, February 18 will be played at Minute Maid Park.

The particapting schools are Alabama State University (Montgomery, Alabama), Grambling State University (Grambling, Louisiana), Southern University (Baton Rouge, Louisiana), Prairie View A&M University (Prairie View, Texas) and Texas Southern University (Houston, Texas) will all participate in the Urban Invitational along with NCAA Division-I school University of California, Irvine.

The Minute Maid Park games are as follows:

Alabama State University vs. Grambling State University, 11 a.m.
University of California, Irvine vs. Southern University, 3 p.m.
Texas Southern University vs. Prairie View A&M University, 7 p.m.

As an additional aspect of the Urban Invitational weekend activities, MLB and the Astros will host a college fair at Minute Maid Park on Feb. 18 beginning at 11:00 a.m. CT. More than 20 colleges and universities will be represented and will provide information about college preparation, undergraduate and graduate degree programs, financial aid and scholarship opportunities.

Beginning at 3 p.m. CT, the games at Minute Maid Park will air live on MLB Network and MLB.com, with play-by-play from Greg Amsinger and analysis from two-time MLB All-Star Harold Reynolds. In between these contests, fans at Minute Maid Park will be entertained in a collegiate “battle of the bands,” with live performances from Southern University’s “Human Jukebox,” Texas Southern University’s “Ocean of Soul” and Prairie View A&M University’s “Marching Storm.”

Tickets to the games and events at Minute Maid Park will be available to the general public for $5, and parking for Minute Maid Park is also available for $5. There is a special ticket package available for $10, which will allow access to the ballpark and provide a concession voucher for a hot dog and soda. High School students and below with a valid student ID will be admitted to the ballpark for free. Games at the Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park will be available on game day for a suggested $5 donation. Children 12 and under, and any student 18 and under with a valid student ID, will be admitted free. All proceeds from the ticket donations at the Academy will benefit the Major League Baseball Urban Youth Foundation, which is a not-for-profit 501(c) (3) corporation.

Friday’s and Sunday’s schedules and locations are as follows:

Friday, Feb. 17
Southern University vs. Prairie View A&M University, 11 a.m. at Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park;
University of California, Irvine vs. Alabama State University, 2:30 p.m. at Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park;
Grambling State University vs. Texas Southern University, 6:00 p.m. at Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park

Sunday, Feb. 19:
University of California, Irvine vs. Texas Southern University, 11 a.m. at Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park;
Alabama State University vs. Southern University, 2:30 p.m. at Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park;
Grambling State vs. Prairie View A&M University, 5:30 p.m. at Houston Astros MLB Urban Youth Academy at Sylvester Turner Park

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1 Comment

How are Prairie View and Grambling considered “urban” schools when they are located in rural areas?

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