In honor of Independence Day, I have collected various versions of our national anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner" (lyrics by Francis Scott Key, set to the old English drinking song, "To Anacreon in Heaven"), which I have recorded over the past couple of years.
First is one of the most recent, from the 2009 Republican Party of Virginia's state convention on May 30. Here are the Hullabahoos, an all-male a capella group from the University of Virginia, singing the national anthem at the Richmond Coliseum:
From about two weeks earlier than that, the next video was made at the 2009 commencement exercises at Virginia Commonwealth University (also at the Richmond Coliseum). The national anthem, sung by J. Chase Peak, is preceded by "Pomp and Circumstance."
Last September, Alaska Governor Sarah Palin appeared at a campaign rally in Richmond. (She was then the vice-presidential running mate of Senator John McCain.) Governor Palin introduced Hank Williams, Jr., who -- even though he neither grabbed his crotch nor spit on the ground -- gave the worst rendition of "The Star Spangled Banner" since Roseanne.
A much better presentation of the national anthem was heard on Constitution Day (September 17, 2008) at Montpelier, the home of James Madison in Orange County, Virginia. Here "The Star Spangled Banner" is performed by opera singer Eric Greene, who is introduced by television journalist Jim Lehrer.
On Labor Day 2008, at the annual Buena Vista parade and political rally, Miss Virginia (Tara Wheeler) opened the speechifying with the national anthem:
Happy Independence Day!