Striking Out With The National Anthem

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) - Sheila Dugan has seen her share of singers strike out with the Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America.

"The National Anthem requires that the singer has a solid octive and a 5th range practically speaking, that's 20 notes.  Twenty notes of solid sound that's good and reliable." said voice coach Sheila Dugan.

Which isn't always reliable for some really well known singers trying to find the right pitch.

"They're really scared that they may not hit the lowest notes very well and they might disappear." said Sheila Dugan.

Dugan is a professional voice coach and pianist who says Whitney Houston's rendition of the anthem set the bar.  But, Christina Aguilera might have lowered it.

"Women have trouble especially going from the lower register to the higher register and what people do today is just belt." said Sheila Dugan.

With God Bless America, Dugan says singers sometimes forget what the song is all about.

"If they focused on their voices  instead of the words, instead of what the words really mean to them as an American." said Sheila Dugan.

The biggest obstacle is fear to any American trying to sing the National Anthem.

"If you're singing the National Anthem for a large number of people you know you're being judged and you're afraid of failing." said Sheila Dugan

Which is why singers sometimes take libertys with solemn songs.  The song gets lost and the ornaments that they sing take over.  And I think both of these songs, especially the National Anthem needs to be sung with a tremendous amount of respect.

Patrick Clark, News 11.