American Anthem (1998)

Words & Music by Gene Scheer

Gene Scheer with President Bill Clinton, following a performance of Scheer's "American Anthem"
Gene Scheer with President Bill Clinton, following a performance of Scheer’s “American Anthem”

I wrote American Anthem in the late 1990s. The piece has been performed by many wonderful artists including Denyce Graves, Nathan Gunn and Norah Jones. Norah’s rendition is featured in Ken Burn’s PBS film about World War 2 entitled “The War.”

American Anthem
In his inaugural address, President Biden quoted Gene Scheer’s song, a patriotic hymn championed by the opera star Denyce Graves and recorded by Norah Jones for a Ken Burns soundtrack.

Justice Ginsburg was a passionate opera fan from her youth, and one of her favorite singers, the American mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, sang for her one last time on Friday at the Capitol ceremony. Ms. Graves, her voice reverberating off the marble of Statuary Hall, performed the spiritual “Deep River” and Gene Scheer’s “American Anthem.”