Virtually anyone who watched the presidential inauguration Monday agreed: singer Beyonce’s performance of the national anthem was chilling.
As good as it was, however, it’s now controversial. Multiple reports today suggest that she wasn’t actually singing the national anthem, but lip syncing as the U.S. Marine Band’s music played.
Interestingly, it appears the Marine band itself has confirmed the lip syncing. From Washingtonian’s blog:
“We don’t know why Beyoncé decided to use prerecorded music,” a spokesperson for the Marine Corps Band told us this morning. “All music [for inaugural ceremonies]is prerecorded as a matter of course, and that’s something we’ve done for years and years. The Marine Band did perform live throughout the ceremony but we received last-minute word that Beyoncé wanted to use the recording.” The spokesperson also added that everyone knows Beyoncé is a gifted singer, and her decision has no bearing on her musical ability.
In other words, it isn’t unusual for the band to have recorded music ahead of time, as it appears they did here. One of America’s most beloved singers not actually singing as the world watched, however? The humanity!
I’ve reached out to the Marine band to make sure their comments are accurate. In any event, it appears the Marines involved did nothing out of the ordinary.
UPDATE, 5:20 p.m.: The Marine band referred me to the Marine Corps Division of Public Affairs. It appears damage control is in effect. The Corps’ new statement reads as follows, and takes a step back from comments Washingtonian initially reported:
The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) requested that the Marine Band accompany Beyonce Knowles-Carter in the performance of the Star-Spangled Banner at the 2013 Inaugural Ceremony. However, there was no opportunity for Ms. Knowles-Carter to rehearse with the Marine Band before the Inauguration so it was determined that a live performance by the band was ill-advised for such a high-profile event. Each piece of music scheduled for performance in the Inauguration is pre-recorded for use in case of freezing temperatures, equipment failure, or extenuating circumstances. Regarding Ms. Knowles-Carter’s vocal performance, no one in the Marine Band is in a position to assess whether it was live or pre-recorded.
Sure is different than that first statement, isn’t it?