John Williams to Debut New Version of U.S. Anthem

American composer and conductor John Williams is debuting a new arrangement of "The Star-Spangled Banner,'' featuring choirs, trumpets, an orchestra and cannons on the Capitol Lawn 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.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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