Gene Scheer's 'American Anthem' As part of an NPR series called "What's in a Song," composer Gene Scheer gives his view of what makes his piece "American Anthem" a great patriotic tune.

Gene Scheer's 'American Anthem'

Gene Scheer's 'American Anthem'

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Web Extra: Denyce Graves Sings 'American Anthem'

Audio will be available later today.

Composer Gene Scheer believes his "American Anthem" is a great patriotic song -- and he tells us why he thinks so as Weekend Edition Sunday begins a monthly series called "What's In a Song."

"American Anthem" premiered at the Smithsonian Institution's unveiling ceremony for the restored "Star-Spangled Banner" flag in 1999. Mezzo soprano Denyce Graves sang it during the ceremony, which was attended by President and Mrs. Clinton. The song has also been performed sung at the past two presidential inaugurations.

Features in the "What's In a Song" series are produced by Taki Telonidis and Hal Cannon of the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nev.