Star-Spangled Music Day —Friday, September 12, 2014

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The Star Spangled Music Foundation (SSMF) in partnership with the American Choral Directors Association (ACDA),  America Sings, Resounding Joy, and others are pleased to announce a national Star-Spangled Music Day for Friday, September 12, 2014 in celebration of the 200th anniversary of the United States National Anthem — “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Download our logo here and feel free to use it on the Web, on t-shirts, buttons, stickers, flyers, etc. to help celebrate the national anthem’s 200th birthday!

StarSpangledMusicDay-LogoFor this day we ask that Americans far-and-wide and especially K-12 students throughout the United States sing patriotic songs—including “The Star-Spangled Banner”—and discuss the history and significance of the anthem. Performances may be videotaped and posted to YouTube, Twitter, and other social media outlets using the hashtag #Anthem200.

The SSMF and ACDA along with other organizations will provide K–16 instructional materials as linked to our For Educators page. We also encourage teachers, schools, and educational organizations to join our Star Spangled Teachers and Star Spangled Schools Networks to keep current with upcoming announcements and the release of additional materials.

Ideas to celebrate the National Day of Patriotic Song include:

  • Have a campus-wide singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and post it to YouTube using the hashtag #Anthem200 and post it to our Facebook page. If you send us the video, we can post it for you. Email info@starspangledmusic.org for help.
  • Perform the SSMF’s Star Spangled Halftime Spectacular marching band charts during your high school football game that evening. These will be posted in summer 2014.
  • Add a historical arrangement of the U.S. National Anthem to a concert or recital for a school-wide assembly using scores provided by the SSMF.
  • Work with local government or other organizations to celebrate the bicentennial of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in whatever way is best for your local community.
  • Play the SSMF’s recording of the original version of the U.S. national anthem over your school’s PA to start the day and tell your fellow staff and students about the anthem’s anniversary. Click here for a script that you could adapt for the announcement. You can get our recording on Youtube or in our Poets & Patriots CD release.
  • Add your own idea and initiative here! Share them with us via Facebook or

Thanks for joining the SSMF, the ACDA, and are other partners in celebrating the 200th birthday of “The Star-Spangled Banner”!

About starspangledmusic

StarSpangledMusic.Org is a project of the not-for-profit Star Spangled Music Foundation. It is administered by Professor Mark Clague (University of Michigan) and Dr. Susan Key, a musicologist of American music who resides in California.

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13 Responses to Star-Spangled Music Day —Friday, September 12, 2014

  1. Tina McGrew says:

    I’m totally on board and already emailed my administrators and all of the art and music teachers in my district! Whoohoo!

  2. Renee Ross says:

    My Principal is on board with our elementary performing and having a short program for “Star Spangled Banner Day”. We are working on having the students create the American Flag (outside event-weather permitting) with the correct colored shirts of Red, White, and Blue. We have hired an aerial photographer to take pictures above us during the program. Very Excited!

  3. Pingback: Star-Spangled Music Day —Friday, September 12, 2014 | Star Spangled MusicGreater Tampa Bay Area Orff Chapter | Greater Tampa Bay Area Orff Chapter

  4. Scott Wright says:

    The “dawns early light” by which Francis Scott Key saw the flag was on the morning of September 14. The anniversary of the writing of the poem and the event that inspired it were on September 14, 1814. Mobile Opera is asking all of Mobile, Alabama to sing the National Anthem at 2:00 that day in numerous gathering points around the city. I can see why it would be desirable to start a celebration on Friday the 12th when schools can participate but it would be nice if a national observation would include the actual anniversary date instead of moving it all to the 12th. I respectfully urge you to include the correct anniversary in your celebration plans and I invite you to join Mobile Opera and the City of Mobile, Alabama at 2:00 on September 14, 2014 in singing the Star Spangled Banner/National Anthem.

    • Dear Scott — thanks for your comment and indeed we are encouraging those celebrating to mark the 14th as the 200th anniversary of the “Dawn’s Early Light” as well. Fort McHenry will have an especially big celebration that day.

      The use of the 12th is — as you note — chose to allow K-12 students and their teachers and schools across the nation to participate as well. Most likely, Key actually completed his lyric on the 16th and first printed it on the 17th. It was first published on the 20th. Anniversary celebrations always involve a certain amount of strategy in their choice of precisely which date to honor. We’ll also be participating in a collegiate football halftime show on the 13th, which is the 200th anniversary of the start of the bombardment. Best of luck with Mobile Opera’s celebration and please post pictures to our Facebook page.

  5. Angela Stefanini says:

    We are celebrating on the 11th (since it’s also Patriot Day) by performing a play to educate students about the history of the War of 1812 and the events leading up to the composition of Francis Scott Key’s poem. Our school is singing the 4 verses of the SSB and then we’re retreating to our field to create an American flag — students have been assigned red, white and blue colored shirts to wear.

  6. Kathy Lee Montgomery says:

    Our district is divided into Triads. My jr. high will be hosting all the East Triad 6th graders to sing along with our 7th and 8th graders on 9/11. This will be a time to grow confidence with the 6th graders, so they return to their schools and lead the SSB sing along on Friday, 9/12. Our band, choir and orchestra will also be performing patriotic songs in the auditorium for the group of 480 6th graders.
    Our principal is narrating our Power Point presentation about the 200th birthday.

  7. Thank you so much for sponsoring this commeration. We are a small school in Athens, a town in central Wisconsin. We celebrated by playing patriotic music at our home football game on September 5. As we did not have a home game on September 12 we used September 5 as a kick-off for a week of celebration. Tomorrow, September 12, we will have a mass singing of the anthem by the entire middle and high school. The elementary school will also join in by live web streaming. We have invited the public to the ceremony and will have participation by the local VFW. I will also present a short speech which I have set forth below. Again, thank you for this program. I would also to thank my fellow faculty members who have organized the program: Donley Niskanen, Patty Riske and Mary Jo Johnson.
    REMARKS FOR STAR SPANGLED MUSIC DAY:
    Two hundred years ago tomorrow-September 13, 1814 – the United States was at war. We were at war with the British-our former colonial masters-in what is now known as the War of 1812. Only a few weeks before, the British had attacked our capital city, Washington, D.C., and burned the Capitol, the Treasury and the President’s House (now called the White House); our president then was James Madison.
    On September 13 the focus of the War of 1812 had shifted to Baltimore, Maryland. It was a rainy day and the British began a furious bombardment by shells and rockets of Fort McHenry, an American fort in Baltimore Harbor. On a ship in the harbor was a 35-year old lawyer named Francis Scott Key. He had met with the British who had agreed to release a friend of his but Key was prevented from leaving because he had overheard the British plan of attack. He then became an eyewitness to the Battle of Baltimore which extended through the “twilight’s last gleaming” of September 13 into the “dawn’s early light” of September 14. After 25 hours the British had been repulsed, Fort McHenry was still in American hands and its flag-a star-spangled banner of 15 stripes and 15 stars-still waved proudly.
    Inspired by these events, Key, on September 14, began writing the poem that became “The Star Spangled Banner”. While we now take it for granted that it is the national anthem, that has only been true for 83 years. It only became the national anthem in 1931, under President Herbert Hoover, a time within the lifetimes of many of our parents and grandparents.
    At the most basic level “The Star Spangled Banner” is a poem set to music. While many of you may have an almost visceral negative reaction to “poetry” – especially when you have to study it – most of our great and traditional songs are poems.
    Let’s briefly take a close look at “The Star Spangled Banner” itself. Unfortunately, too often its words are something we sing on a routine basis, without thinking about them; we then applaud briefly and sit down. We sing “The Star Spangled Banner” simply because it’s time to sing it. But what we are singing are magnificent words describing inspiring events!
    The anthem’s first verse-the portion we normally sing- consists of 80 words in 8 lines with 3 questions and 1 statement. The poem’s rhyming pairs are “light” and “fight”, “gleaming” and “streaming”, “air” and “there” and “wave” and “brave”.
    Good poetry usually makes the ordinary a little extraordinary. This is true of “The Star Spangled Banner”. Let’s check what Francis Scott Key was writing about, how he described it in the poem and how we would describe it.
    Mrs. Riske will read the words of the anthem-the poetry-and I’ll then turn them into the prose of our everyday conversational words.
    Patty: -“Oh, say can you see by the dawn’s early light what so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming?”
    Rhonda: “Hey, now that it’s light out, can you see what we were proud to watch last night?”
    Patty: Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight, o’er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?”
    Rhonda: “Whose stripes and stars we watched gallantly flying over the fort during the big fight?”
    Patty: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”
    Rhonda: “And the red fire from the rockets and the bombs blowing up showed that our flag was still there.”
    Patty: “O, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
    Rhonda:”Hey, does that flag with the stars still fly over the land of the free and the home of the brave?”
    You can see how the poet-Francis Scott Key-has turned the basic events of the battle into something majestic and inspiring. Prose into poetry! When you sing the national anthem today-and in the future- think of the events that inspired the song and the questions that the song asks. Sing it with the intensity and majesty of the battle itself! And make it clear that the answer to “the Star-Spangled Banner’s” basic question-“Hey, does that flag with the stars still fly over the land of the free and the home of the brave”-is, even after 2 centuries-200 years, a resounding “Yes, it certainly does!”.
    Thank you.

    • Thank you for sharing this heartfelt explication of our nation’s anthem — with teachers like you working to inspire future generations, we are in good hands! (P.S. Send a picture if you can and let us know how things went.)

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