minutia press.
Anthem Blues

OK, here I go again. But this time, I have some legislation in mind.

Anyone who has been within earshot of me at a Blues game has heard me complain about the disregard and disdain the "singers" of our national anthem have for the crowd. Instead of enabling the community singing of our National Anthem, these diabolical divas crow on in any way they can to make our Anthem their own. While I may not have the ideal solution, I think we, as a nation, should recognize what is, and is not, the singing of our National Anthem.

At the Blues game, when you hear "Please join Charles Glenn in the singing of our National Anthem" why are we not disappointed when we hear something that is certainly not our National Anthem?

Here are some videos I have found on Youtube that help make my point:

Now compare this with the singing of O Canada, where the singer just starts the crowd going and then joins with them.

Or here is a tete-a-tete comparison of both anthems at the NHL playoffs.

So here is what I propose: if somebody with an overinflated set of lungs and ego wants to perform a solo rendition of our National Anthem, that is fine, but I suggest legislation should be enacted to call that what it is -- or at least not call it our National Anthem.

For a song to be called our National Anthem, I propose the following criteria:

  1. It should begin in a key within a range that most people can sing. Bb is about as high as I would venture, and Ab would be much better. It should end in the same key.
  2. It should remain in tempo, with a statutory limit on the number of fermatas (fermate?) that can be applied, and the places at which they may be attempted. I suggest a limit of one fermata, but perhaps we could leave this up to the states -- some of their citizens may have more time on their hands than others.
  3. Dynamics that are intended to steal away the song are to be avoided. A rallying crescendo is OK, but each phrase need not have a volume all its own.
  4. At least half of the US Citizens present should be singing the Anthem with the songleader (I avoid the term "soloist"), and the other half should have written excuses for why they are not singing.