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Beyonce Didn’t Rehearse National Anthem With Marine Band Until Night Before Inauguration

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Singer Beyonce performs the National Anthem during the public ceremonial inauguration on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol January 21, 2013 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Beyonce wasn't technically the main attraction at President Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony on Monday, but she very nearly stole the show. Taking the stage to sing "The Star-Spangled Banner" after Obama's swearing-in and stirring inaugural address, the superstar drew wild applause from the hundreds of thousands of people who had turned out for the big event. Her rendition of the national anthem was impressive, to say the least — even more so considering she had almost no time to rehearse with the United States Marine Band, which accompanied her performance.

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Planning for the musical portion of the ceremony begins several weeks in advance, but as band director Colonel Michael J. Colburn revealed to Buzzfeed, it can be difficult to block out time with the celebrities. Especially when they're as in-demand as Beyonce is.

"As soon as we get information from the Presidential Inaugural Committee [about] who the guest artists are going to be, we make contact with them, find out how we can prepare arrangements that will really kind of flatter their voices — of course in the right key," Colburn told Buzzfeed on Jan. 21. "We had Kelly [Clarkson] in over the weekend to rehearse and record. Beyonce, she's getting ready for the Super Bowl, so we didn't have a chance to do anything with her until last night."

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(The "Crazy in Love" singer is headlining the Super Bowl halftime show on Feb. 3 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, where she'll be joined by her Destiny's Child bandmates Kelly Rowland and Michelle Williams.)

"it's a very, very tight window of opportunity," Colburn said. He added, though, that what little time the band had with her went "very well."

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Indeed, despite some apparent audio problems — the Grammy-winning singer ripped out her earpiece halfway through the song — Beyonce's performance was a highlight of the inauguration ceremony. Another highlight? Her stunning style. The star looked gorgeous in an Emilio Pucci black velvet and chiffon cutout gown, a black Dior coat, and 80-carat emerald earrings by Lorraine Schwartz.

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