The Sunday Music-Related Football Post: Chorally Speaking

imageThis is a continuation of what has turned into a mini-series chronicling the checkered history of performances of the National Anthem at the Super Bowl. Since I am a choral person, today I’m featuring choral performances, or what pass for them, at the Super Bowl.

Other than the military choruses whose performances I included in this post last week, there haven’t been that many performances featuring a choir. There were more in the early years. In fact, Super Bowl I combined not one but two marching bands and the UCLA Choir. I can’t find a video of that one, but I presume it was at least competent.

Super Bowl VI was the next to feature a chorus, and you can hear it in last week’s post, as it was the U.S. Air Force Academy Chorus. The following year the Little Angels (children’s choir) of Holy Angels Church in Chicago sang. I found a video, but the sound quality is so poor I decided not to link it.

After that it was another six years before a choral ensemble appeared. It was the Colgate Thirteen, and you can hear that performance in this post, the first of the series.

It was another six years before the next choral performance, but I’m saving that for the closer. It will be linked below.

It was sixteen more years before another choral performance, and I would call it quasi-choral at best. The Backstreet Boys made a few attempts at harmony, but either their sound guy wasn’t very good, or they weren’t, because it fell a bit flat, except, I suppose, for teenage girls. I found the choice a bit puzzling, because I would assume that teenage girls are probably the demographic least likely to watch the game in the first place. But here it is:

Super Bowl XXXVII (2003) featured a group who was a bit controversial at the time, and may have seemed like an odd choice to some. But the Dixie Chicks hit it out of the park, to mix my sports metaphors, with a beautifully arranged and harmonized version:

And since then the only choral version is the other one performed by a military choir (or in this case an amalgam of military choirs) in 2005. Again, you can see it in last week’s post. While the 2006 Super Bowl performance did contain a gospel choir, they were very much a back-up. That performance will appear in next week’s post.

There is one seriously odd exception to the lack of choral presence at the Super Bowl. I speak, of course, of the NFL ad featuring Seal and the “Super Bowl Babies.” It’s fun, actually, although at least one of the 2014 babies didn’t seem to think so:

But to return to the National Anthem, this performance is an absolute delight. For the 1985 Super Bowl (XIX) at Stanford Stadium a “Super Bowl Children’s Choir” was assembled. Comprised of the San Francisco Boy’s Choir, the San Francisco Girl’s Choir, the Piedmont Children’s Chorus, and the San Francisco Children’s Chorus, it was an impressively large group. The arrangement they sang was beautiful and they sang it beautifully. Were I to be making my own ranking of all Super Bowl performances of any type, this would definitely be one of my top contenders. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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