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January 22, 2013

Beyonce Performs National Anthem at Inauguration

On Monday, Jan. 21 at noon President Barack Obama was sworn in publicly to his second term as the 44th president of the United States. The ceremony featured recording artists Kelly Clarkson and James Taylor, but it was Beyonce who had the task of performing the national anthem in front of the massive crowd assembled on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Despite taking out her earpiece partway through the song, Beyonce delivered a powerful performance that energized the crowd.

During the anthem she was accompanied by the United States Marine Band, nicknamed “The President’s Own”, who have played in every inauguration ceremony since the 1801 swearing-in of President Thomas Jefferson.  According to their own website, the Marine Band is America’s oldest continuously active professional musical organization and was once directed by John Philip Sousa, the legendary composer.

The occasion marked the nation’s 57th  presidential inauguration, and made Barack Obama the 19th president elected to serve more than one term in office.

Warm up questions

1. What is America’s national anthem?

2. What does the national anthem mean to you?

3. Did you watch the presidential inauguration ceremony? What do you remember from it?

Discussion questions

1. Why do you think countries have national anthems? What purpose do they serve?

2. Do you think Beyonce was a good choice to perform the anthem? Why or why not?

3. What qualities should a singer possess to perform the national anthem at the inauguration?

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