Sunday, September 4, 2016

A Thing A Week - 2016 - Week 35 | US National Anthem - Composer Quest Olympics - Event 1 - Gold Medalist

Guess what!?

I'm participating in the official Composer Quest / American Composer Forum Composer Olympics.

Compositions will be ranked, and they'll determine bronze, silver, and gold medalists for each event. The rankings will be based on votes from other participants.

The first event:

National Anthems

Due September 7th
Make a creative arrangement of one of your favorite national anthems for any instrumentation (acoustic or electronic), and record it to share with the group.

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Okay, so given a certain happening to do with the US national anthem recently, this post might be a little hard to make without getting into it. So I'm just going to dive in. There are a lot of really messed up things going on in our country in terms of our justice system (cops not being tried for murdering civilians...for example).

In my mind, not standing during the national anthem is a perfect way to bring awareness to the issues at hand. In no way is this meant as an act of disrespect to those who have fought to make the rest of us safer. But, what good is being safe from foreign threat if you are not even safe from those who we are all paying to keep the peace in our own communities? If you are outraged that somebody is silently protesting the problem, and not outraged at the problem itself, then that right there is part of the problem.

I understand the lyrics of the US Nation Anthem (verses 2-4) actually reference slavery. My understanding is that it is referencing the US battle with the British in Canada on Sept 14, 1814. The USA was trying to take a part of Canada, but through the recruitment of American slaves, the British were actually able to push back and nearly take DC. So why does this matter? Well, Francis Scott Key is specifically talking about beating the British and slave army. This is all sorts of messed up.

Sometimes the origins of a thing can be masked, especially when a thing is turned into a symbol that represents something else (freedom, bravery, hope, liberty, justice, happiness), and the meaning and value of that thing can completely change to an entire population over time. When people hear the US National Anthem, I don't believe they are specifically thinking about all of the terrible things that happened in this country to make it what it is today and hoping for more terrible things and a return to the way things were in the past. I believe most people hear it and think about their families and their friends and hope for good things in the future. I believe it is meant to be inspiring to us all, despite its origins.

Any way you slice it...stand, sing, put your hand over your heart, bow your head, take off your cap...or don't. That is the freedom that the US National Anthem is all about. We should all be free to do what we please so long as it doesn't interfere with the freedom and happiness of others.

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Hopefully I didn't ruffle too many feathers with that little mind dump.

Without further ado, here is my rendition of our National Anthem.


Until next week,

Bryan

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