It is now almost showtime at Fenway Park. May first. Cool evening. Windy. Red Sox versus Blue Jays.

Out on the Yawkey Way sidewalk, I am one of two dozen men in our 70s shivering from the chill and pacing about anxiously in blue blazers and khaki slacks. Soon we will be led through the gate into America’s most venerated ballpark, where we will stand in two semi-circles on the infield grass and sing the national anthem to television cameras, microphones and to a crowd of 30,000 spectators.

The aromas of fried clams and grilled sausages outside the ballpark are thick. So are the local accents of the chanting vendors: Dorchester, Chelsea, Malden?

We stare intently at our cell phone screens to be sure the square QR codes (which have replaced paper tickets to Fenway games) are glowing bright, scannable, legitimate. Because everything has to be right. No last-minute snafus.

We are the Princeton Nassoons (classes ’63 to ’78), gracefully aging (we hope) collegiate crooners who have gathered from all over the country. We are thrilled to be singing with the friends we have known since we were boys at Princeton more than 50 years ago. To perform at Fenway Park is both a boy’s and a senior citizen’s dream. And now it’s showtime.

We have been told somewhat cryptically that once inside the gates we will be escorted into the Green Room, where we must remain relatively silent — no warm-up singing, no alcoholic throat freshening — until we perform.

“A Green Room at Fenway Park? What’s that like?” I ask our bubbly 20-something guide with shining pixie eyes and a welcoming grin.

“You’ll see,” she giggles.

Gerald Yukevich and Tessie, at Fenway Park.

Our Fenway performance of The Star Spangled Banner (originally scheduled for 2020 but canceled by Covid till now) required several months of individual drilling on our parts. We rehearsed together only once for two hours at the hotel, but as our phones are scanned and we pass through the entrance gate, we feel confident the music is solid and the arrangement inspired.

Still, here we are at Fenway Park with 30,000 spectators and who knows how many television viewers. For men in our 70s, sensitive about dignity, any snafu would be humiliating.

Quickly the Green Room mystery is revealed as we are led up a ramp and out onto the ball field. The Green Room, we realize, is the Fenway greensward itself: a velvety and immaculate carpet of Kentucky blue grass that appears woven rather than cultivated and perfectly manicured. My glance bounds playfully over the luscious surface of outfield turf like, well, a baseball.

After the work crew has groomed the infield, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox emerge from their dugouts and line up along the foul lines. They hold their caps over their hearts. Then we, the Princeton Nassoons, stride reverently onto the infield grass and form our two concentric semicircles.

The crowd hushes, our music director blows the pitch pipe, and we start to sing. During my preparations for this performance, I noticed that Francis Scott Key’s lyrics of The Star Spangled Banner conclude with a question mark, perhaps a metaphor for our national identity, currently torn and in need of repair.

But here and now in Fenway Park, as our voices soar with resplendent harmony and the crowd is swept up by the power of the melody and the moment, there is no place for doubt in any of this pageantry. Old Glory waves vigorously above the outfield and against the twilight’s last gleaming.

As the final majestic cadence of chords resounds and our tenors strike the triumphant high notes on the words “land of the free,” the crowd explodes with an ovation.

No snafus. Only victory. Whew!

We have slammed a musical home run, and later the Red Sox finish it with a walk-off homer in the ninth. A most satisfying evening.

Thanks, Red Sox! Thanks, Francis Scott Key! Oh, and thank you, America.

Dr. Gerald Yukevich lives in Vineyard Haven.