...and how to sing it
Many events in professional sports in the United States of America feature a celebrity singing "The Star-Spangled Banner" before the action begins. Many of these celebrities, including Carl Lewis, make the same mistake at the beginning: they start too high. Then when they get to "the rocket's red glare", they blow up too as they strain to hit the high notes.
If you don't want to have your words turn to bombs bursting in air, here's what to do:
- Memorize all four of Key's stanzas.
- Before the event, warm up your voice. Sing up and down a major scale covering at least an octave plus a perfect fifth.
- Take note of the lowest note (no pun intended) you can hit without using much effort.
- If a band will accompany you, inform the conductor of this lowest comfortable note; it will become the key in which the band plays.
- Here's the key technique (again, no pun intended): Start one perfect fifth above your lowest comfortable note and descend by a major triad into the first notes of the song. Practice, practice, practice in this key. You're cramming for an exam graded by millions of American viewers.
- Now you have built enough confidence to step onto the field and start low enough that you don't burst, so start singing. Because you're not straining at either end of your range, you'll have the stamina to sing all four verses, surprising the American public.
Two questions that people routinely toss back and forth: Is it considered polite to aspirate (insert an H sound in) the first syllable if one of the players is named José? Is it considered polite to make a 'z' sound at the end when playing in Atlanta, Georgia?