Band director Colonel Michael J. Colburn conducted the Star-Spangled Banner energetically, but the band members were actually mimicking blowing into their instruments. It’s been reported that Beyoncé even removed her earpiece during the performance while lip-syncing the lyrics.
“We don’t know why Beyoncé decided to use prerecorded music,” a spokesperson for the Marine Corps Band told the Washingtonian Tuesday.
“All music [for inaugural ceremonies] is prerecorded as a matter of course, and that’s something we’ve done for years and years. The Marine Band did perform live throughout the ceremony but we received last-minute word that Beyoncé wanted to use the recording.”
There are no reports of a singer ever lip-syncing the national anthem during a president’s inauguration.