Recently, I saw a video of five young girls, known as the Cactus Cuties, singing the National Anthem at a basketball game in Lubbock, TX. I have a son living there and he keeps me advised. It was a stylized and somewhat sensational rendition of the traditional tune that was hardly recognizable, at least to these tired old ears.

It’s a free country and I suppose you can sing anything any way you want to, but I am a bit tired of your rock star mashups, comedienne crash-ups, Met star put-ups and yes, those lovely Cactus Cuties rendering their stylized version of the National Anthem to promote their obvious talent when nothing is more thrilling than an arena filled with real American Patriots lifting their untrained and unprepared voices to the rafters with a soul rich pride that truly represents a national force. It’s not a performance piece folks, it’s a group sing.

We have outsourced the singing of the National Anthem, and it is wrong! But wait! Is it a National Anthem? Isn’t it really a sporting event theme song – really? When is the last time you have heard the National Anthem at some place other than a sporting event? Forgive me for bringing this up, but it used to happen when I was a kid that the people sang the song, even at sporting events, but when have you sung it? Maybe the 5th grade?

I’ll give you this much: it’s a hard song to sing. When you realize it is, after all, an adaptation of a colonial era bar tune, it becomes clear that only after a few tall ones would such an impossible tune sound melodious. Be that as it may, certain of our political forebears have decreed that it is the tune and lyric that embodies our national pride and purpose. Until it is officially changed, it should be performed in such a manor that reflects a populist, non-professional, expression of love for country. Singing it does not constitute an endorsement to what some yo-yos in Washington have done to your country. It is is not a political party song but a non-partisan National Song.

So at the opening game at Fenway tomorrow, give everybody a cheat sheet with the words and have some one on pitchers mound, not to perform but to lead the fans in the singing of the National Anthem. It is a primal expression of participatory democracy, right up there with voting.

1 Comment

  1. Wow.. I couldn’t agree more. I get so tired of the "performers" butchering our tune.I’m linking to this post.. got to share it.dh

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