The challenges that come with singing the National Anthem

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It was announced that Lady Gaga will help kick off Superbowl 50 by singing the National Anthem and to many Americans, one of the most important parts of any sporting event is the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. It allows us to honor our country together, before dividing and rooting for our favorite team. 

Laura Waterhouse has been a performer all her life. Performing America’s song, though, is something shes only been doing for the last 8 years. She’s British, and has lived in America for less than a decade. 

“It is by far one of the most beautiful national anthems that exists in the world, but it is ridiculously difficult to sing,” she says.  

Being born across the Atlantic is not the only reason she finds the national anthem such a challenge to sing. She says, “the words are so choppy and chewy and you’re so busy trying to make sure that you get that note, that you don’t really focus on what you’re saying, and I think that’s why so many people they just “BLAH” because the words are so difficult to remember.” 

The vocal instructor says that when she is performing songs like Adele’s Hello- or other tunes she feels emotionally connected to- the singing becomes much easier. But with the National Anthem, many people don’t feel that connection,  making it hard to feel the song and remember the words. A difficulty she says is amplified when singing at a sporting event.

As someone who wasn’t born here, Waterhouse says she cringes when singers try to embellish the National Anthem, saying it is not a song made to showcase vocals, but instead to showcase the pride and unity of America.

“When you’re performing in front of hundreds, thousands of Americans, I feel like they need to be able to identify with the National Anthem of their country, of America, when they’re taking their hats off and putting their hands over their heart,” she says. 

Singing a song, especially in an arena , is an event Laura says is like the sporting event itself. It shouldn’t be done without proper training saying, “you wouldn’t just go out there and start running a marathon, and I tell people that all the time. The National Anthem is like a 5K, you better have trained and warmed up or you’re going to struggle.”

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