International pop star Beyonce Knowles lip synced "The Star-Spangled Banner" at President Barack Obama's second Inauguration yesterday. The Marine Corps band mimicked blowing into their instruments along with the prerecorded version. The decision to use the recording came from Knowles at the last minute for an unknown cause. The Marine Corps Band was reportedly not actually playing either, despite Conductor Michael J. Colburn's emphatic gestures.
Miming along to prerecorded music at Presidential Inaugurations has been done before--at Obama's first inauguration, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and violinist Itzhak Perlman were forced to play a recording instead of their actual scheduled performance because the weather was too cold. However, this is the first publicly known instance of a singer performing over a recording at an Inauguration.
A spokesperson for the Marine Corps Band told the Washingtonian that all music to be performed at an Inauguration is has been prerecorded for years as a safety measure, so the fact that it was recorded at all should come as no surprise.
Singer Kelly Clarkson, who also performed at the Inauguration, has come out with the fact that she sang "My Country 'Tis of Thee" live. Knowles is generally held in higher esteem than Clarkson, so the admission is surprising.