Unless you have been living under a rock (and if you are reading this, that scenario is quite unlikely) I’m sure you have had some sort of conversation about Christina Aguilera’s rendition of our National Anthem before the Super Bowl.
No, this is not going to be another let’s bash Christina article. I cannot (and will not) blame Ms. Aguilera for forgetting a line in the middle of the performance… that can happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime. Nor would I question her patriotism or love of our wonderful country. What did disturb me was the performance itself.
But I actually can’t blame her totally for that either.
You see, the issue is not who sings the National Anthem, but how they do it.
Back in the 1940’s and once we became involved in World War Two, The Star Spangled Banner (a combination of a Francis Scott Key poem Defense of Fort McHenry and John Stafford Smith’s The Anacreontic Song ) was used at the beginnings of our sporting events.
Then in 1968, Puerto Rican singer Jose Feliciano performed the Anthem at Tiger Stadium before game five of the World Series. This is considered to be one of the earliest “pop” renditions, for Feliciano gave the Anthem a “blues” like feel…
And that’s where the issue started.
Somewhere along the way, our National Anthem became more than a symbolic song of patriotism. It became secondary to the performer.
And that is what’s wrong.
The singing of the National Anthem is a way of paying respect to those who have made our country what it is. We stand, remove our hats, and face “Old Glory”. Sometimes we sing along, other times we reflect on how lucky we really are. No matter what, we pay homage to those who have provided us with what we really have.
But when the performer overshadows the song, its meaning is lost.
Some people will recall Whitney Houston’s rendition prior to Super Bowl XXV. Though she may have possessed an angelic voice, it became “her version” and started a trend of “top that” performances for the next two decades.
Our National Anthem should be sung with reverence and sincerity and not be theatrical or exaggerated.
It should be sung with honesty and integrity, for honor and tribute.
Whoever sings it should keep in mind one simple thing… no one should be bigger than our National Anthem.
“Musical traditions in sports”. CNN . http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/multimedia/photo_gallery/0711/music.traditions.sports/content.3.html