Major Music Artists Join Smithsonian’s Star-Spangled Banner Celebration
Live Flag Day Event Features Appearances by Kristen Capolino, Carlene Carter, The U.S. Air Force Band Conducted by Col. Larry Lang Plus a 400-Person Choir Conducted by Eric Whitacre and Francisco J. Núñez
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History is celebrating the 200th anniversary of the national anthem and the flag that inspired it with two major initiatives: a live Flag Day event in Washington, D.C., and an anthem website with specially commissioned music videos.
Jonathan Batiste, Sam Bush, Coral Cantigas, Renée Fleming, Patty Griffin and Scott Miller, Warren Haynes, David Hidalgo with Mike Eldred and JR Lozano, Angie Johnson, Valerie June, Della Mae, Phish, Train, Rebirth Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins, Orba Squara, Steep Canyon Rangers and Josh Turner are helping the Smithsonian celebrate the flag’s bicentennial.
Twenty music artists and acts from a wide range of genres such as rock, R&B, bluegrass, opera and more are supporting the celebration either by recording their own unique renditions of the anthem or by participating in public service announcements. They have created special videos and audio tracks for an interactive timeline on the website anthemforamerica.si.edu where they will be featured alongside traditional versions from the archives of the Star-Spangled Music Foundation and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.
The videos will be available on YouTube. Many of these artists, including country singer-songwriter Carlene Carter, are engaging with their fans and followers on social media through the hashtag #raiseitup to encourage them to “Raise It Up!” and join the national sing-a-long on Flag Day, June 14, at 4 p.m. EDT.
On that day, The United States Air Force Concert Band and the official chorus of the U.S. Air Force, the Singing Sergeants, conducted by Col. Larry Lang, will fill the National Mall with patriotic tunes. A special performance by Carter, the daughter of June Carter Cash and Carl Smith and scion of the Carter family, will set the stage for the “Anthem for America” concert’s culminating moment at 4 p.m. EDT when people on the National Mall and across the country will join in singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in a moment of national unity.
An estimated 400-person choir, ranging in age from 9 to 81 and representing diverse ethnic, geographic and musical backgrounds, will perform “America the Beautiful,” led by Grammy-winning composer Eric Whitacre, and “Lift Every Voice,” conducted by MacArthur ‘genius’ Fellow Francisco J. Núñez. The choir, organized by Classical Movements in partnership with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and Chorus America, will precede electric guitar phenom Kristen Capolino’s rendition of “This Land Is Your Land.”
Other performances include those by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Quintet under the direction of Kennith Kimery and Charlie Young and the Smithsonian Folkways’ Little Bit A Blues Band. The Fort McHenry Guard Fife and Drum Corps will perform popular War of 1812 pieces by the Constitution Avenue entrance at noon and immediately after the concert on the museum’s Mall terrace.
The “Anthem for America” concert will be streamed live on ESPN3 and YouTube and will be available through a 90-minute webcast from 2:30 to 4 p.m. EDT.
Creating a moment of national unity, the National Park Service, Little League International, the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital and the National Civic League are among the more than 100 organizations that are partnering with the museum to bring Americans from around the world together to sing their anthem. Also helping to make the “Star-Spangled Banner” heard around the world on Flag Day at 4 p.m. EDT, is Macy’s, which will activate 800 stores nationwide to play the national anthem. In addition, Macy’s locations in Boston, Chicago, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C., will showcase the Raise It Up! campaign in store windows.
A sample of events taking place across the nation includes:
- An old-fashioned town concert in the “rhubarb pie capital of the world” Sumner, Wash.
- A Flag Day festival with skydivers, the U.S. Army Band and military vehicles at Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
- A performance of the national anthem on kazoos at the James Monroe Museum in Fredericksburg, Va.
- A naturalization ceremony on the shoreline of Biscayne Bay in Miami.
The complete listing of Raise it Up! events and displays is available here.
The museum is located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (closed Dec. 25). Admission is free. For more information, visit https://americanhistory.si.edu. For Smithsonian Information, the public may call (202) 633-1000.