The version Beyoncé sang was recorded with the Marine Band at a Marine Corps studio in Washington D.C. over the weekend, said Master Sgt. Kristin duBois, a spokeswoman for the Marine Band. She added that the band had no trouble with intonation during much of yesterday’s ceremony, which featured nearly two-and-a-half hours of music, though at the last minute the band and Beyoncé received orders to use the recorded version.
“We don’t know why,” said Sergeant duBois. “But that is what we were instructed to do so that is what we did. It’s not because Beyoncé can’t sing. We all know Beyoncé can sing. We all know the Marine Band can play.”
It is still unclear who made the decision to use the recorded version, though the Marine Band’s director, Col. Michael J. Colburn, reportedly received the orders to switch right before Beyoncé went on. During the performance Beyoncé seemed to experience a brief technical difficulty when her earpiece fell out of her ear, though she continued to appear as if she was singing.
“The entire performance was live except for the national anthem,” Sergeant duBois said.
Sergeant duBois added that it is standard to pre-record music for the inauguration in case weather is bad, which can make it difficult for the musicians to keep their instruments in tune. That was the case four years ago when the cold forced Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman and two other musicians to use a backing track during their performance.
Neither Beyoncé nor anyone in her camp has spoken on the matter yet.