Top 5 Favorite Versions of the U.S. National Anthem

The Star-Spangled Banner is an anthem that encompasses hope, pride, love, and devotion given to the land that fought for freedom. The country known as The United States of America. While it is truly difficult to pick my favorite versions of this national anthem, in honor of those who fought for mine and others freedom, here are my current top arrangements of the U.S. National anthem:

5. Arrangement by Jack Stamp
This band arrangement seems to capture the inspiration that Francis Scott Key saw when he witnessed the sun rise and the U.S. flag waved at the top of the fort during the U.S. victory. It starts soft with the hollow sound of clarinets and slowly builds to a triumphant chorus of the whole band.

4. Epic Star-Spangled Banner
Yes, that is the title of this YouTube video. It was hard to decide whether to even have this in my top 5 list because of the sound effects and wierd videography at times. But putting that aside, I believe this is a great arrangement that starts with the innocent voice of a young girl, which builds into an orchestra and choir that captures the struggles and perseverance people went through for our country. Finally, it climaxes to a triumphant point by using the full diversity of the orchestra, choir, and pipe organ.

3. CWU Marching Band
While I might be partial to this arrangement because it is the same college band I participated in, I never played this Lewis Norfleet arrangement. It is a prideful rendition with powerful brass chords, awesome passing of melody with quick added flutters, and ridiculously high screaming trumpets. It brings tears to my eyes how beautifully bold and powerful this arrangement is.

2. 500 high school students sing the national anthem in a hotel
When I first saw this video I nearly started crying. This hauntingly beautiful performance almost made me start crying. With this powerhouse of a group singing beautifully and on key, in a venue with a lot of reverberation, it almost sounds sacred. To me, this performance captures the feeling of rememberance. Rememberance of those who fought for us, those who will, and the rememberance that we all should come together and treat each other as free people.

Honorable Mention: Malea Emma
It was hard not to include this talented 7-year old in the top five list. The reason I didn’t include her was because some of the growling she did took away from her performance; also that technique, as well as the vibrato she uses at such an early age will probably ruin her vocal chords at an earlier point in her life compared to others (I’m not a vocal expert though). However, Malea Emma has a truly amazing voice, Very powerful for such a young age; and talk about that range: do we have another Mariah Carey in our midst? What is also amazing, is the fact that she sang in pitch, accapella the entire time.

1. Whitney Houston
Many would claim Whitney Houston as one of the greatest singers of all time. Another tear jerking performance, her 1991 Super Bowl performance does a great job of encompassing Whitney’s beautifully powerful and gentle voice with the wonderful Florida Symphony. You also can’t help but feel the spirit of America, it’s land, and it’s people poring out of this soulful performance.

If you are interested in listening to any of these performances, you may find them on YouTube. Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments section.

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