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Long Island Teen's National Anthem Performance Wows Nation Before AFC Championship Game

DIX HILLS, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A Long Island teenager is getting attention for playing a fiery version the national anthem at the AFC Championship game Sunday night.

It was an electrifying rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner by 17-year-old Brandon Niederauer who wowed the nation before the Kansas City Chiefs played the Buffalo Bills.

"Super grateful for it. It was an amazing experience. Something I'll remember for the rest of my life," Brandon told CBS2's Carolyn Gusoff.

His ferocious guitar playing earned him the nickname Taz, like the Tasmanian Devil cartoon.

Brandon Niederauer long island national anthem guitar gusoff
17-year-old Brandon Niederauer of Long Island wowed the nation before the AFC Championship game with his rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner on Jan. 24, 2021. (credit: CBS2)

By the time Brandon was 12, he was starring on Broadway in "School of Rock." He's performed with legendary musicians like Gregg Alman and Lady Gaga. But his spin on the national anthem at the AFC Championship was in front of his biggest audience to date.

"It just stands for hope, and I feel like this country is pretty polarized right now, so I feel like playing that... that song, everyone can sing it and just really feel the hope go around," he said.

Now back home in Dix Hills, the high school senior is an honor student applying to college.

Grounded and humble, he's making music everyday.

"It's always just been in my blood and every time something like this happens, I'm just super grateful to the universe for giving me all these opportunities. I feel very grateful for it," Brandon said.

The performance Sunday night was Brandon's first live gig since the pandemic. Instead, he's been creating original songs. His first album is in production.


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