National Museum of American History Announces Names of Semi-finalists for National Anthem YouTube Singing Contest

Jose Feliciano, Jordin Sparks, DeLyn and Marcus Johnson Will Serve as Judges
April 22, 2009

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, home of the Star-Spangled Banner, the flag that inspired the national anthem, launched the Star-Spangled Banner YouTube Singing Contest in partnership with USA Weekend Magazine earlier this year.
The following 15 contestants have been selected as semi-finalists:

Maria Albani, Sevierville, Tenn.
Sahara Rain Brown, Shawnee, Okla.
Angela Carr, Nashville, Tenn.
Patrick Clark, Mason, Ohio
Alex Fischbach, Morrison, Ill.
Christie Fleeman, Citrus Heights, Calif.
Amanda Gaura, Chicago, Ill.
Maurice Mataban, Saint James, N.Y.
Juliet Miles, Fort Myers, Fla.
Danielle Erin Rhodes, Astoria, N.Y.
Elizabeth Anne Russell, College Station, Texas
Drew Sellers, Ewa Beach, HI
Jordan Shelton, Aravada, Colo.
Nathaniel Tao, Ithaca, N.Y.
Talia Walsh, Scranton, Pa. 

“These contestants were selected out of a diverse pool of 868 participants from all age groups, ethnic backgrounds and from across the country,” said Brent D. Glass, director of the museum. “We are proud that so many people are engaged with their flag and their anthem and joined our contest.”

The semi-finalists were selected according to popularity on YouTube, vocal performance, originality and accuracy of lyrics. All semi-finalists will receive a signed copy of the book “The Star Spangled Banner: The Making of an American Icon,” and their videos will be featured on the museum’s official Web site at http://americanhistory.si.edu/starspangledbanner/sing.

The top video will be chosen by a panel of celebrities, Smithsonian judges and representatives from the Baltimore Orioles and USA Weekend Magazine. The winner will be announced May 19.

The following artists have generously agreed to donate their time and expertise to select the winning performance:

Tampa Bay, Fla., pop singer-songwriter DeLyn released her debut album “DeLyn ElektroFrotonic” in 2006 that features the hit single “Waiting.” DeLyn supports the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation through the sale of this album.

José Feliciano, international, multiple Grammy Award-winning guitarist and singer of Puerto Rican descent, is well known for performing the national anthem during the 1968 World Series and his personalized Latin Jazz rendition became a charted top-40 recording.

Residing in Washington D. C., Marcus Johnson is a jazz keyboardist, composer and producer who recently released a three CD series, each debuting in the Top 15 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz charts. Johnson’s mission is to promote jazz to the masses, and he cites Thelonius Monk as an early influence.

Jordin Sparks is an American pop singer-songwriter who rose to fame as the winner of the sixth season of TV’s “American Idol.” Her self-titled debut album went platinum in the Unites States. and garnered an American Music Award for Favorite Artist: Adult Contemporary Music, a National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Award for Outstanding New Artist and a Grammy nomination in 2008.

The grand-prize winner will be invited to perform the national anthem at the museum and at the Baltimore Orioles versus Atlanta Braves game in Baltimore on Flag Day, June 14. The winner and a guest will receive a trip to Washington, D.C., including airfare, hotel accommodation for three nights, tickets and transportation to the game and $400 spending money. Air fare will be provided courtesy of Grand Blanc Travel. The JW Marriott hotel near the museum will provide lodging.

To view all entries in the contest, visit http://www.youtube.com/group/Starspangledbanner.

The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history. To learn more about the museum, please visit http://americanhistory.si.edu. For Smithsonian information, the public may call (202) 633-1000, (202) 633-5285 (TTY).