Four years ago, in January 2009, I expressed shock and horror that Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma faked their performances at the Presidential Inauguration …
In a culture where Americans are becoming increasingly lax in their understanding and appreciation of “good” music (e.g., the primetime American Idol karaoke television program), I commended President Obama’s choice in having Itzhak Perlman and Yo-Yo Ma perform John Williams’ “Air and Simple Gifts”. BUT, the decision not to amplify the instruments — due to the cold weather affecting their tone and tuning — and simply rely on a taped recording to trick the millions of people watching was both unfortunate and unwise.
Itzhak Perlman told the New York Times, “It would have been a disaster if we had done it any other way…This occasion’s got to be perfect. You can’t have any slip-ups.”
I absolutely disagree. This was an orchestrated fraud (pun intended) on the day the nation was to come together under a new administration built on intangible concepts of Hope and Change. But this is no change. Really no different than Milli Vanilli’s Grammy, Ashley Simpson on Saturday Night Live, every musical float at Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve.
The real slip-up was choosing musicians who can’t play their instruments in cold weather – IN JANUARY.
It’s pathetic, and America should be ashamed of not only Perlman, Ma and inaugural organizers who didn’t think we would notice or care, but a laissez-faire attitude in the general public that teaches our children that faking it when it’s cold is the new Presidential Way.
Performers lip sync and play to tape all the time, but that doesn’t make it okay or something we should accept.
I believe it’s shameful the planning committee doesn’t believe there is a single American musician who is up for the challenge of singing the National Anthem live at a once-in-a-lifetime event. And the Marine Corps Band? They’re surely up for a challenge – cold weather be damned.
What do you think?