A RESPONSE TO ‘ANTHEM’
I was also present at the 2013 graduation ceremony for Woodinville High and wanted to supply a contrasting perspective to last week’s letter to the editor.
In contrast to her perception, I felt that the rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” sung by a popular teacher was an absolute delight. This sentiment was shared by many of my graduating daughter’s friends.
His somewhat unconventional interpretation covered a number of diverse styles from Irish Tenor to Road House Blues, reflecting the diversity of our great nation. I felt it gave an air of freshness and spontaneity to what was a fairly long and heavily choreographed event. Let’s face it, our national anthem is a “classic” in the deepest sense of the word. As a classic, it is important that it be re-interpreted every so often, so that we hear it afresh, and think about the insights it gives us into our lives here and now.
When a classic gets trapped in a single acceptable interpretation, like a flower pressed between the pages of a book – it dies.
This teacher has obviously spent his Ten Thousand Hours working with teens and came up with a very creative way to make this powerful piece of music speak to them, to pass the responsibility of preserving its meaning to the next generation.
My perception was that he cared deeply about these students and about his country.
I admire the previous writer’s intense desire to preserve tradition, but know that our country has survived and prospered on its ability to reinterpret its traditions. Think of how Abraham Lincoln reinterpreted the words from the Declaration of Independence “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” in his Gettysburg Address.
I am pretty sure that the founding fathers who penned these words were referring to people like themselves: white, male, landowning, and educated.
As we approach the 237th birthday of our democracy, I am immensely thankful to our sixteenth president for expanding the meaning of those words and reinterpreting our tradition.
Proud Falcon Parent