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The Star-Spangled Banner

By John Stafford Smith

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Choir, SATB - Intermediate - Digital Download
Composed by John Stafford Smith. Arranged by Thomas Coker. Patriotic, Americana. 4 pages. Published by CokerTRC Publishing (S0.348037).

Item Number: S0.348037

In2009 when Sanctuary Choir of South Main Baptist Church in Houston where I served as Music Minister was scheduledto sing the National Anthem for the Houston Astros baseball game, I carefullyexamined the several arrangements in our library and other resources. Findingnothing which met the simple, straight-forward criteria I was searching for, wecreated this simple arrangement. Since its addition to the music library it hasproven very useful on numerous occasions for a variety of groups.

About the National Anthem:

The lyricsfor The Star-Spangled Banner were writtenon September 14, 1814 from a British ship in the Baltimore Harbor whereattorney Francis Scott Key had waited anxiously through the night as thetwenty-five hour bombing of Ft. McHenry progressed. He had been sent tonegotiate the release of an American civilian and then was held on board theship.  At “the dawn’s early light” whenthe flag could still be seen indicating the British had not taken the fort, hejotted down this poem which on March 3, 1931 finally became the National Anthemof the United States.

Interestingly,it was Robert Ripley who in November of 1929 drew a panel in his syndicatedcartoon, Ripley’s Believe It or Not stating “Believe It orNot, America has no national anthem.” With the encouragement of John PhilipSousa, President Herbert Hoover signed into law the adoption of The Star-Spangled Banner to rectify thissituation.

Accordingto the Smithsonian, the melody, written by John Stafford Smith, was originallytitled Anacreon in Heaven. Anacreonwas an ancient Greek poet known for his love of wine and love. The song hadbecome the “constitutional song” of a London gentlemen’s club called theAnacreontic Society. Could this explain the wide range of the melody? Byutilizing this tune to the moving text, this once merry drinking song took on abold new and powerful meaning.

ThomasCoker, August 27, 2015  

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