Super Bowl Replays: 1) Practicing National Anthem; 2) Denver’s Closer Loss

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MetLife StadiumProper Practice Makes Perfect. In our opinion, Renée Fleming’s memorable national anthem performance at Super Bowl XLVIII struck a fine balance between straight-laced and stylized. The opera star provided enough warmth and interpretation to stamp her personality on the song, without diverting attention from the lyrics and occasion. The video cutaway to U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan listening and singing along reminded everyone what the anthem’s words really mean.

In her pre-anthem comments, Fleming cited the adjustments performers must make for singing in different acoustical environments. In a Friday New York Times article, she contrasted her normal opera-performance surroundings with the MetLife Stadium outdoor arena.

“I work in a world that is completely no-tech…zero amplification and all live acoustic music,” said Fleming. “I expect to be really distracted by the amount of sound coming from the [amplification] system, from the size of the stadium, from the audience and also the visual of the Jumbotron. I’m trying to prepare as best as I can.”

Super Bowl trophyWhether NFL football player or world-class musician, practice is essential for success. Football players practice on the field – it’s logical. For musicians, “virtual reality” acoustical technology enables them to experience the acoustics of larger performance environment – auditorium, cathedral or even arena – while in a much smaller space, whether practice room or rehearsal room. Proper acoustics are crucial for mastering articulation, dynamics and timing.

Professional musicians of the San Francisco Opera use such technology in their “green room” for warm-ups before going onstage. The technology also helps musicians at schools of music, universities and K-12 schools across the U.S. and around the world. For more about the VAE® click here: Virtual Acoustical Environment technology.

Cheer Up, Denver! Although their team was dominated on the field, Denver residents can perhaps console themselves with results of another contest where the results were much closer, although Seattle still prevailed.

In a ranking of “Creatively Vital Metropolitan Areas” in the U.S., Seattle and Denver finished neck-and-neck…Seattle #7 and Denver #8. The Creative Vitality Index measure the “share of creative jobs, arts spending, and creative for-profit and nonprofit organizations.” To see rankings of the Top 35 cities, see p. 16 of this 2013 report.

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