Calhoun: Wake-Up Call

Rene Marie's Star-Spangled Bungle

The city's abuzz over Rene Marie's surprise decision to replace "The Star-Spangled Banner" with the Black National Anthem at yesterday's State of the City speech at the Wellington E. Webb Building.

A surprise to everyone else in the room, Mayor John Hickenlooper included, but not to the jazz singer.

Marie's been singing "Voice of My Beautiful Country," her combination of "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" (also known as the Black National Anthem), "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and "America the Beautiful" with the music from "The Star-Spangled Banner," for months now. In fact, Donald Rossa, owner of Dazzle, the jazz club where Marie has frequently performed since she moved to town a couple of years ago (she also starred in the recent Dinah Was), had been pushing to have the song performed at the Democratic National Convention -- earning the effort a Best of Denver 2008 award as Best Soundtrack for the Democratic National Convention.

But given the response from the city, looks like Rene Marie won't be singing the same tune at the Democratic National Convention. -- Patricia Calhoun

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Patricia Calhoun co-founded Westword in 1977; she’s been the editor ever since. She’s a regular on the weekly CPT12 roundtable Colorado Inside Out, played a real journalist in John Sayles’s Silver City, once interviewed President Bill Clinton while wearing flip-flops, and has been honored with numerous national awards for her columns and feature-writing.
Contact: Patricia Calhoun