Joose Jeskanen is bringing a little extra to his exchange family's backyard Olympics! As the 7 Little Johnstons family prepares for their official Johnston Backyard Games in a PopCulture.com exclusive sneak peek of Tuesday's all-new episode, the 17-year-old Finnish exchange student supports his American host family's traditions with a stirring rendition of the national anthem, played on his very own trumpet.
"How long did it take you to learn the national anthem?" a producer asks Jeskanen, who answers, "I got the sheet music of [the] national anthem about four days ago, but it was [a] pretty easy song for me because I have played nine years trumpet. So it was not hard." Jeskanen, who is also a little person, explains that his trumpet is a pocket trumpet, which is "a little bit smaller" than other trumpets, but didn't have to be specially modified to accommodate his arms.
"It would be like a cello and a violin," Jonah Johnston explains, as Jeskanen clarifies that the sound is still the same as a full-sized trumpet. As Jeskanen plays "The Star-Spangled Banner," the whole Johnston family lines up, dressed in their patriotic garb complete with red, white and blue face paint. Trent Johnston jokes that he feels like after that stirring rendition, he feels like the whole neighborhood is out on their back porch also pledging allegiance to the U.S.
Jeskanen has another role of honor as the family kicks off the Johnston Backyard Games, being asked by his host family to light the torch, in the form of a family bonfire. "I feel like it's starting to really feel official," Amber Johnston tells the cameras. Trent adds of having Jeskanen light the beacon, "We let the athlete from the farthest distance light the torch."
When Jeskanen first came to live with the Johnstons for three months, he was initially shocked by many of the cultural differences between the U.S. and Finland. "I'm so excited about this. Everything here is new for me," he said in a previous episode on the way home from the airport. When it comes to joining the Johnstons for all their antics, he joked, "Maybe Johnston family is crazy ... But it's OK. I like to be, like, also crazy." 7 Little Johnstons airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on TLC.