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Andina and Rich: Blog

The National Anthem

Posted on February 10, 2011 with 0 comments
Much has been made of Christina Aguilera’s singing of the National Anthem before the Super Bowl (at least by a lot of folkies). Let’s start with the basics. The Star Spangled Banner is very nearly unsingable under the best of circumstances. It tends to require the vocal range of three people to hit all of the notes accurately. That having been said, we should take a closer look at this whole idea.
Ms. Aguilera is not the first singer to stylize our National Anthem half to death nor is she likely to be the last. Over the years we have all heard singers run that song through vocalizations which, if translated into physical action, could turn an Olympic Gymnast inside-out. That has become the way of these things. Those events that still present the National Anthem at all do so by hiring one singer perform it.
Is it just us or does this practice defy the very nature of such a song? When was the last time that you attended or watched an event in which EVERYONE stood up and sang the Star Spangled Banner together? Isn’t that the point of such a thing as a national anthem? Isn’t its purpose to have us all rise and express collective pride in our country; to, for that one moment, loudly proclaim that despite our diversities of language, cultures, and ideas that we are one people as Americans (or, at least, hope that we can live as one people)? Does that one moment not in some way make us feel more united as part of a greater whole? Do we not, as a group, experience what patriotism truly is; the pride in the power of the collective soul of a nations citizens?
What does it say about us, as a culture and as a country, that we are perfectly willing to let someone else take our hope for and pride in our nation and bury it beneath their vocal gymnastics?
We don’t claim to have any answers. We're entertainers not a social scientists or philosophers. We're just asking out loud the questions that occur to us every time someone like Ms. Aguilera sings that song.

Be well,
Sandy Andina
and
Stephen Lee Rich