Celebrating the Anthem's 200th Birthday
with the gift of new tools for teachers
These will include first-ever recordings of early American patriotic songs connected to Key's anthem and a book of sheet music with all the songs featured on the recording. The award-winning 2 CD set and accompanying book will bring American history to life in our classrooms — through the magic of music!
I am Mark Clague, a musicologist at the University of Michigan and a specialist in the history of American music (see my bio). I've enlisted the talents of my amazing colleagues, choral director Jerry Blackstone (bio), tenor Scott Piper (bio) and organist James Kibbie (bio), as well as our incredible students to create all-new, historically informed recordings of Francis Scott Key's "Banner," plus its historic precursors and subsequent parodies. You'll be surprised to find out how much there is to learn about our national anthem!
Why Study, Teach, Learn, and Sing Francis Scott Key's Anthem?
I believe that "The Star Spangled Banner" is so well known as to be surprisingly unknown. Very few know the song's real history. Yet, the story of Francis Scott Key's anthem and the ways that Americans have used it to express their feelings about our nation offer a unique educational opportunity not only to celebrate Key's lyric, but to consider the meaning of citizenship today. The story of "The Star-Spangled Banner" is the story of America — with all its stars, stripes, strife, and triumphs — and with your help, we can get students from kindergarten through high school across the nation to celebrate, sing, and think about the Banner and help celebrate the song's upcoming bicentennial.
What We Need
- We need money to pay for the the design, printing, and publication of a two-CD set titled Poets & Patriots: A Tuneful History of "The Star Spangled Banner" and its informative historical booklet. It contains over 30 Banner variants, piano and organ arrangements, and other patriotic songs. (Click for track list.)
- We need additional financial support to typeset, design, and print an anthology of the musical scores we created to perform the songs featured on the recording. The book will be titled The Star Spangled Songbook.
What You Get
- You get both the good feeling of helping K-12 students and teachers as well as your own reward in the gifts described along the side ===> of our campaign description. ===> These are our way of saying "thanks" for your financial support.
How to Help UsClick the "contribute" button at the top of the page and select your perk. You can pay with any major credit card, directly from this site. When you get your statement, the charge will be listed as "First Giving," not Indiegogo, since we are raising funds for our federally recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit — the Star Spangled Music Foundation. This means that a portion of your contribution is tax deductible! JUST CLICK "CONTRIBUTE" TO GET STARTED...
Publishing the Poets & Patriots recordings and the Star Spangled Songbook will realize a dream I've been pursuing in my teaching and research for over a decade, yet my devotion to this project appeals to bigger goals:
- To share the amazing story of "The Star Spangled Banner" with every K-12 student in the United States.
- To build a coalition of informed teachers excited about teaching the anthem.
- To correct misinformation about the Banner—for example, the tale that someone other than Francis Scott Key connected text and tune. In fact, Key knew "The Anacreontic Song" well and had used it for patriotic poetry before, notably a song titled "When the Warrior Returns," which we've recorded for the CD.
- To show how the art of music and the creativity of Americans has helped us navigate crisis and imagine ourselves as a nation.
Our Success So Far
We are not seeking funds to make the recordings or to do the basic research to identify and edit the musical scores. This work has already been paid for by grants from the University of Michigan's Office for the Vice President for Research, Humanities Institute, and its School of Music, Theatre & Dance, as well as a Sight and Sound subvention from the Society for American Music. However, these grants cannot be used for publication or distribution expenses—which is why we need your help.
We are especially excited that the National Endowment for the Humanities has funded the U-M American Music Institute's summer teacher training program "Banner Moments." It will feature a performance — including our scores — by baritone and art song scholar Thomas Hampson at the U.S. Library of Congress! With your help, each of the thirty teachers participating in the institute will receive both the CDs and the Songbook.
Our Stretch Goals...
If we exceed our initial goal of $11,700 (and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for good luck), we will use any extra funds to develop further educational materials, videos, and curriculum guides to be distributed for free on our website. Additional funds will help spread the word to teachers nationwide through educational publications and advertising. In fact, we have so many more ideas and programs, some already underway and some awaiting fundraising, that our success here will inspire us to be even more ambitious. See, for example, our Star Spangled Stories Contest and the National Star-Spangled Music Day planned for September 12, 2014. We will put your donation to good use.
Other Ways You Can Help
Any donation helps our cause and helps build our coalition. Yet while we need money, there are many ways you can put your excitement about our anthem anniversary project into action:
- Shout about our campaign on your Facebook page, Twitter or other social media.
- Like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and sign up for email updates.
- Tell a teacher about our plans—share links to the educational materials we've already created for our website and YouTube channel. Tell them to join our national Star Spangled Teachers Network for more information.
- If you're interested in volunteering for the Star Spangled Music Foundation to share your skills and contacts to advance these projects, please email email@example.com.
The Star Spangled Music Foundation
SSMF is a federally recognized U.S. 501(c)(3) non-profit organization formed to spark a national celebration of "The Star-Spangled Banner" bicentennial in September 2014 with a continuing mission to provide materials on American song to teachers for the benefit of K-12 and college students across the nation. The foundation is led by two music historians—board chair Mark Clague and executive director Susan Key. For more information, see http://www.starspangledmusic.org