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John Williams to debut new version of US anthem

Thursday - 7/3/2014, 3:44pm  ET

This handout photo provided by Capitol Concerts, taken July 2, 2014, shows John Williams conducting the National Symphony Orchestra and other musicians for the upcoming debut of a new arrangement of the national anthem, on Capitol Hill in Washington. It will be performed July 4 on the National Mall before the annual fireworks show. (AP Photo/Paul Morigi, Capitol Concerts)

BRETT ZONGKER
Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- American composer-conductor John Williams is debuting a new arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner," featuring choirs, trumpets, an orchestra and cannons on the National Mall for the nation's birthday.

Usually a soloist performs the national anthem for the annual "Capitol Fourth" celebration in Washington. But this year, the acclaimed composer will lead the National Symphony Orchestra, the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets, the Joint Armed Forces Chorus and the Choral Arts Society of Washington in performing a special new arrangement.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the national anthem. It was in September 1814 when Francis Scott Key was inspired by the sight of the flag over Baltimore's Fort McHenry after a 25-hour British bombardment.

"A Capitol Fourth" will be broadcast Friday at 8 p.m. on PBS and NPR.


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