Archive for January 24th, 2013

Beyonce vs. The Marine Band

January 24th, 2013

When the news broke that Beyonce might have lip-synced the National Anthem at the Inaugural Ceremony, my first thought was, “Who cares?” Seriously, we are beginning to be the most entertained and least educated advanced culture in the world now.  When people are being killed by terrorists, Congress can’t agree on anything, and Korea is threatening to launch more missiles while China and Japan are chasing each other in war planes, we worry about lip syning?

When President Kennedy was killed and I had to stand in the middle of my high-school stadium and play Taps, I wish they had invented sound-track-trumpet lip-sync. The other time that I had that wishful feeling was standing …on the rooftop of a bank in Indiana, PA, on Veterans Day also playing Taps to a few thousand people watching from below. For any of you who are familiar with music and musicians, not unlike the wind blowing in the end zone at Heinz Field, we are sometimes impacted by weather conditions.

For example, what if Beyonce had been standing in freezing rain with heavy winds? The music from the Marine Band could have floated off into the distance, and she would have been completely out-of-sync with them. Or, what if the wind blew really hard and the music had flown off the Marine Band’s music stands? (We used clothes pins to hold the music in my day.) Because that was an arrangement that was written specifically for her, they could have really screwed things up. None of those things happened, however, and it wasn’t so cold that the band’s mouthpieces froze to their lips like the kid stuck to the flagpole in A Christmas Story. In fact, it was a beautiful, sunny, winter day, and the potential for nervousness was the only possible reason for the accusation by the Marine Band that Beyonce had lip-synced.

You know, she was afraid she’d pull a Christina Aguilera and flub the words, or a Roseanne Barr and destroy the song completely. (My Taps experiences turned out okay, but I was so afraid of screwing up that I nearly pulled an Al Roker on those two occasions.) Well, some of you may think that I’m a sissy, but by the end of her rendition of the National Anthem, I had tears in my eyes. It was absolutely BEAUTIFUL, and her talent was so obviously overwhelming that, at least to me, lip-syncing would not have been a problem.

BUT then at about 6:14 p.m., I saw a post that the Marine Band was recanting their charge. Capt. Eric Flanagan, a spokesman for the United States Marine Corps reportedly said, “The band accompanying her was pre-recorded, but the Marine Band has no knowledge as to whether Beyoncé sang live.” Then he went on to say, “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.” So, no one would ever be able to say definitively that she had used the lip-sync track. But here’s the REAL STORY: The Marine Band and Beyonce had not had a chance to practice together . . . EVER! Well, Holy COW, no wonder she would even consider lip-syncing! Not getting to practice together, even once, is a little like riding a bike for the first time ever, in New York City rush hour traffic.

The spokesperson who decided to out Beyonce is probably peeling potatoes or counting paper towels somewhere, and for what? It’s not like Lance Armstrong where Beyonce was taking voice enhancement drugs and lying.

Either way, her voice is amazing. So, here’s my final take on this situation: If Beyonce wants to come to the Consol Energy Center and sing, I’m there. She’s really talented and, I know this is not politically correct, but she is gorgeous, too. AND the Marine Band? What can anyone say about the Marine Band? They’ve played for every Inauguration since Thomas Jefferson became our third president. So, not unlike when I order decaffeinated latte’ with skimmed milk, I say, “WHY BOTHER?   Come on folks; let it alone.”