UK National Anthem – Beijing Olympics 2008

The Guardian, Saturday 23 August 2008:

Protocol demands that the official handover begin with the Olympic flag being handed from the mayor of the current host to the president of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, who in turn passes it on to Boris Johnson, the mayor of London. Once he has waved the flag the required six times it will be carried out of the stadium accompanied by the National Youth Theatre singing the national anthem, arranged by music director Philip Sheppard.

The Times 23/08/08

With a royal seal of approval, the London handover show at the closing ceremony tomorrow will be an “irrepressibly British” celebration of sport, culture and music.

The Queen has endorsed the musical rearrangement of the National Anthem that will start the performance, the usual drawn-out drum roll, it will be sung “more sentimentally” by the National Youth Theatre choir.

“It’s symphonic and full-on but a bit different. I did not think we should go to China and do something imperial and militaristic,” Philip Sheppard, the music director and a professor at the Royal Academy of Music, said. “I wanted it to be more sentimental so the British athletes in the stadium could feel nostalgic and start fantasising about Marmite and cups of tea.

“We did send it to Buckingham Palace for approval – we thought it would only be polite – and they said yes.”

The choir’s rendition of God Save the Queen will mark the start of London’s eight-minute segment in a show that is expected to match the dazzling spectacle produced at the start of the Games. The Chinese organisers spent £160 million on their opening ceremony, and although the finale is shorter they will have spared no expense.

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