Monday, February 07, 2011

Warm and fuzzy patriotism

Jacob Weisberg is right that it's pretty understandable to mess up the Star Spangled Banner, even at the Super Bowl.  I really thought Christina Aguilera was more talented than that, but I guess I was fooled.  This all reminded me of one of the neatest moments of patriotic pride I ever had.

In Summer 2000, just after I graduated high school, I was fortunate enough to be sent to Finland in a Lions Club social exchange.  While I was there, I participated in a camp that gathered all of the exchangees in the country that summer, which created a really neat international group of people.  At one point, on a hiking trip, there was a sudden, huge rain storm, and we all had to hide out in a little room with no power, but a fire for light.  How romantic.  This meant we had to actually entertain ourselves, and everyone decided we'd sing our national anthems for each other.  Of course, I was terrified to sing ours, but I went ahead and did it, and despite my complete inability to sing, it was very well-received.

Everyone said it was very beautiful, and hearing that made me realize for the first time that it sure is.  It has clumsy lyrics and is technically challenging, but to me that embodies a lot of the best qualities of the USA;  we're ambitious, and going to do things our own way.  

In my little school, I was lucky enough to have some pretty good free, public musical training (I was not really concerned with voice, I played flute.).  Mr. Murdock did everything the hard way.

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