Song Sampler of the Day: “Profile of a Flag” & “The Star-Spangled Banner”

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I’m sure many of you are busy celebrating Independence Day today with your family and friends (or looking for fun plans to make), so I’ll try to make this Fourth of July post as brief as I can, but I couldn’t go today without sharing an absolutely stunning version of our beloved National Anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” by Millennial Choirs & Orchestras, with a prelude that ties in with their version of the anthem, “Profile of a Flag.”

I’ve elaborated before on who MCO is and their amazing mission, but recapping a bit for those of you who haven’t heard of them, they’re a fantastic all-volunteer group of choirs & orchestras (ranging from all ages) spanning 4 states and counting. As I mentioned in a previous post about them, I had the privilege of singing with them for a year back in 2011-12 in Arizona, and I can’t say enough about the caliber of their artistry and the dedication of each and every member to crafting such beautiful music. Last year, they released an album entitled “To Be American,” an outstanding collection of patriotic tunes. (It easily made it onto my Best Albums of 2014 list.) I wish I could share the whole album with you right here (I highly recommend you listen to it), but a particular standout on the album is the National Anthem. It’s performed like you’ve never heard it before, complete with a 2-minute prelude, “Profile of a Flag,” whose motif comes into play within “The Star-Spangled Banner” proper. A story I sometimes tell people is that I first heard these versions of the songs while working late-night custodial at BYU. I was naturally a bit tired, and as the arrangement kept making exciting twists and turns, I kept waking up more and more, but got more and more confused as well. I wasn’t quite sure what I thought of it all, but I listened to both “Profile of a Flag” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” later on, much more awake, and I was once again absolutely blown away by how brilliantly the anthem is reinvented…but at the same time, what utter respect it is given. This is certainly a very different take, but “The Star-Spangled Banner” loses none of the dignity and class that it rightly holds as our National Anthem. It’s a beautiful way to commemorate our freedom on this very special day.

A very happy Fourth of July to all of you, and may God ever continue to bless the United States of America, and all people across the world, with freedom. Enjoy your Independence Day.

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