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Bethesda, Germantown Teachers Take Top Prizes in Maryland 'Star-Spangled' Contest

Maryland voted and chose top three vocal renditions of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” all of whom will perform at the Star-Spangled Spectacular in September.

The three winners of the National Anthem sing-off will perform for Star-Spangled Spectacular in Baltimore City in September. (Photo credit: Flickr/rickpilot_2000)
The three winners of the National Anthem sing-off will perform for Star-Spangled Spectacular in Baltimore City in September. (Photo credit: Flickr/rickpilot_2000)

The public voted and Marylanders spoke, choosing the top three vote-getters for the state’s Star-Spangled Banner Sing-Off, commemorating the 200th anniversary of the end of the War of 1812.

Winners of the contest were announced by the Maryland State Arts Council Wednesday, and Bethesda and Germantown teachers took home top prizes.

Judges chose eight finalists from a pool of statewide submissions. Next, the public voted for their three favorite performances of the National Anthem.

Bethesda opera singer Rolando Sanz, artistic director of Young Artists of America, came in first place.

“The [Star-Spangled Banner] stands alone and should be an inspiration to each of us as Americans,” Sanz said in a release.

Germantown native Bill Harris won second place. His victory came in the midst of retiring from a 40-year career at Montgomery County Schools.

Harris has had roles in theatrical performances of “Fiddler On The Roof,” “The Pajama Game,” and “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Soprano soloist Amy Keesun Kwon of Baltimore took home third place for her performance. Kwon is Maryland’s assistant secretary at the state’s Division of Tourism, Film, and the Arts.

“Many thousands of votes were cast and we are thrilled to present three high-caliber Maryland vocalists that were chosen by Marylanders,” she said.

All three winners will perform The National Anthem at the Star-Spangled Spectacular from Sept. 10 through Sept. 16 along the harbor of Baltimore City. The event will commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore and the end of the War of 1812.

For more on the September festivities, visit the Star-Spangled 200 website.

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