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Posts Tagged ‘national anthem’

I have always wanted to attend a citizenship ceremony. It turns out the Boston branch of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services performs them every week at historic Faneuil Hall, which was a witness to some of the first rumblings of the American Revolution. It’s an imposing place for a great event.

There were 376 immigrants from 79 countries today (Belarus, Egypt, Sweden, and 76 others). It was moving to think about those 376 people wanting to be citizens and also to think about the United States as a place that can mean hope and opportunity. I did find myself wondering whether some of the new Americans were feeling a little sad, especially refugees and the elderly, who might be thinking about the way their homeland used to be — or could have been.

I saw Ione lining up outside. She looked happy and beautiful. Inside, I was surprised to observe a man I knew through my work also becoming a citizen.

The first announcement made me chuckle:”Is there anyone on the floor who speaks Russian?”

As things got underway, the supervisor from the Boston office of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services explained that the order of activities related to the different color packets given out to organize the applicants. (He referred to one kind of packet as “skin-colored,” which considering his experience and the broad spectrum of skin colors in the room, seemed odd.) Staff conducted people efficiently along tables where their papers got checked. Then the judge entered.

When the judge entered, the hall became a courtroom. Becoming a citizen is a judicial process, we were told. A young man sang the national anthem. The judge started out lightheartedly by reading the list of 79 countries, making comments about his visits to a particular country or about the country’s soccer status. (I guess “football” is an international language.)

In the solemn part, everyone took an oath of loyalty to the United States. As the complicated phrases were read aloud, the applicants held up their right hands and repeated the historical words about rejecting monarchs and potentates and serving in the military if required by law.

Finally, the judge asked the small citizen daughter of one new American to lead everyone in the Pledge of Allegiance. It was hard to speak. A wonderful moment.

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Someone who used to know her well alerted me to the story of the Mystery Grammy Nominee. At 51 and without a record label, she has managed to get a remarkable burst of attention for her music.

Writes Christopher Morris at Variety, “Linda Chorney used the Recording Academy’s Grammy 365 website to connect with voters.

“Armed only with a computer and some chutzpah, a longshot snuck through the back door and into the Grammy Awards competition this year.
The resourceful Linda Chorney secured a Grammy nomination in the category of Americana album for her self-produced, self-released ‘Emotional Jukebox’ by taking her mission directly to voters, employing the peer-to-peer function of the Recording Academy’s own site for members, Grammy 365.

“Many in the tight-knit Americana community have reacted quizzically, and sometimes vehemently, to Chorney’s nomination, which trumped several well-known artists in the genre. The virtually unknown Sea Bright, N.J.-based musician will face off on Feb. 12 against a field of nominees that has collectively garnered a total of 23 Grammys. And while some question her methods, her online campaign falls completely within the academy’s parameters for acceptable self-promotion.” Read more.

There are several videos on YouTube. What do you think? Leave a comment.

Follow us on twitter @LunaStellaBlog1.

Update: Chorney didn’t win a Grammy, but she has been invited to sing the national anthem at Fenway Park before an April 2012 Red Sox game, another item on her “bucket list.”

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