I see monthly posts in Facebook groups for “the best” Star Spangled Banner sheet music. Of course, “the best” depends on many factors.
- the size of your group
- the age of your group
- the voicing of your group
- the ability-level of your group
- the range of occasions your group can perform at
I believe every choir should have one Star Spangled Banner arrangement that they can use at any time. By any time, I mean in all circumstances.
What does “All circumstances” really mean?
All circumstances means that any number of group members can successfully perform our national anthem in any setting at any time. Besides the typical concert performance, it should work as a trio, at a pep rally, an outdoor event, and any last minute opportunity that comes our way. This likely means the arrangement needs be a-cappella, unless there will always be a piano or accompaniment track ready to go.
The Star Spangled Banner sheet music that fits all
While there isn’t one arrangement that fits every single group, I believe we can each find an arrangement that can adapt to our ensemble for all possible performance occasions.
For my choir, I have one. This one works for me because it is in only in 3 parts (SAB) which allows for an imbalance of lower voices compared to upper voices. This arrangement even works with just the sopranos and altos. It can be conducted by students, so I don’t need to be there. It locks really well so it works well at a pep rally or outdoor event.
Here are some performances we use this for
- outdoor sporting events (sometimes without microphones)
- pep rallies in the gym without microphones
- church ceremonies surrounding the audience where no conductor can be seen (because the audience is standing)
- beginning a concert
- in a banquet hall on a stage with no amplification
- at a concert on the risers
- at an outdoor community event with a very poor choir-member turn-out
The Star Spangled Banner sheet music I use works so well in every scenario. In addition, all choir members learn it on their first day of class each year. It is a tradition, so new members learn it from returning members.
The Star Spangled Banner Sheet Music that “fits all” for your choir
The Star Spangled Banner sheet music that fits your choir may differ from mine. Maybe your ensemble only performs in one location all the time. You could always have the perfect balance of singers on a part. Maybe your ensemble needs a SA, SSA, TB, or TTB arrangement. Whatever the circumstance, the goal is to find something that can always work, year after year. While my SAB arrangement works perfectly for a SA choir as well (by omitting the baritione part), I also have an SSA arrangement.
Extra Help for the “Fits All” Arrangement
One more way to firm up your ideal arrangement is to provide choral rehearsal tracks. Both of my arrangements offer individual parts in order to ensure singers are secure on their part from day one.
Having the Star Spangled Banner sheet music that fits your ensemble for all situations is part of a larger philosophy that I describe throughout the Choral Clarity blog. The concept is that a long-standing choral program is rooted in tradition. God Bless America would follow the same concept as well!
When an audience hears the Star-Spangled Banner, we will always serve them well when they get exactly what they expect: the famous melody with traditional and patriotic harmony.