Sung by Inversion Vocal Ensemble
The Star Spangled Banner: A Hymnal, a new artist’s book featured in the exhibition Bethany Collins: Evensong, contains one hundred lyrical adaptations of “The Star Spangled Banner,” originally written in 1814 by Francis Scott Key and the US national anthem since 1931. The alternate versions of the anthem, called contrafacta, share the same familiar melody, but their lyrics were rewritten in support of various social and political movements from the eighteenth through twenty-first centuries—from labor and suffrage to abolition and even the confederacy. Hear a new arrangement of this patriotic hymn’s contrafacta by Bethany Collins and Dave Ragland, performed by Inversion Vocal Ensemble during this hour-long program. The performance incorporates styles of aleatoric music, polyphony, and polytonalism. It is through the resulting dissonance that the singers create familiar noise: dissenting versions with the same melody—a resonant metaphor in the wake of an election year.
Born from a desire to showcase an array of talented friends, Inversion Vocal Ensemble brings an eclectic vibe to a variety of musical genres. Composed of classically trained students and alumni of Morehouse College, Oakwood University, Tennessee State University, Union University, University of Tennessee, and Vanderbilt University, Inversion performs classical, contemporary gospel, jazz standards, and inspirational music.