Honoring Veterans (chorus & orchestra)
At long last! MANY thanks to all who offered suggestions.
We've been asked to do a concert honoring veterans with the local youth symphony, and I'd be
grateful for suggestions for pieces that will work for large symphonic chorus and 100+ chorus. What
comes to mind immediately to me is the Wilhousky Battle Hymn, maybe Cohan's You're a Grand Old Flag,
and I assume I can find a medley of armed forces tunes (anyone know one?) like Singing Sergeants
I specifically need pieces that are under ten minutes, maybe even two at 5 each, and good for a
general audience, rather than a regular classical audience (I was thinking about Toward an Unknown
Region but it doesn't quite fit either category). And it MUST be for orchestra and SATB chorus.
Responses (at least three different Armed Forces Salutes mentioned below, or perhaps it's two, the
one by Eilers and Lowden being the same?):
Sally Albrecht's "Armed Forces Salute" published by Hal Leonard. The orchestra is quite big and,
like the Wilhousky, has no chorus parts in the full score. Unlike the Wilhousky a full orchestra
score is supplied, not a piano/conductor score.
Yes, "Armed Forces Salute " Luck's lists it in their Pops catalog, arr. by Bob Lowden, chorus
optional. SOMEWHERE in their catalogs they have a section on Patriotic arrangements. It would be
worth a call to 1-800-348-8749.
I have used an Armed Forces Salute, by Joyce Eilers, SATB. I don't have a copy here, but I believe
there is an orchestration available, and it includes all the service songs.
Armed Forces Salute by Joyce Eilers and Bob Lowden has orchestra but you'll have to borrow it. The
last time I checked, it was POP.
Wilhousky's arrangement of "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" last June. Not as crowd-pleasing as the
Battle Hymn but very similar in style. The orchestration is available for rental only.
Howard Hanson - Beat Beat Drums or Song of Democracy (mentioned several times. It's about 12 min,
"Last Words of David" by Randall Thompson. There is an arrangement for orchestra, I think written
by himself. There's also a Band version! Could honor veteran's through "charging" leaders to rule
I have done the first movement of Randall Thompson's Testament of Freedom, "The God Who Gave Us
Life," in a similar type of concert.
I would suggest Dragon's "America the Beautiful" but I don't know if there is an orchestral part.
I know there is a band accompaniment.
R Vaughan Williams, Dirge for Two Veterans (from Dona Nobis Pacem)--perhaps too long and better
suited to Memorial Day, but hits the mark if you're wanting a heartfelt way of honoring vets.
Gino Vanelli, None So Beautiful as the Brave,--shorter, pop-styling, always appeals to people.
Irving Berlin, Gee, I Wish I Was Back in the Army and We'll Follow the Old Man -- both humorous, but
well appreciated by vets.
Steve Heitzeg and I were co-commissioned by the Philadelphia and Minnesota Orchestras to compose We
Are Met at Gettysburg, a work based on the book, The Last Full Measure, by Richard Moe. Further
details of the work can be found below:
The work is for full orchestra and children's choir (I know you indicated SATB, but I'm throwing
this out there just in case). The first and second movements, composed by me and Steve
respectively, are for orchestra only. The third movement, The Last Full Measure, is for full
orchestra and choir and could stand by itself. Each movement is approximately 5 minutes in length.
I know that this work doesn't fit your search perfectly, particularly concerning the SATB choir, but
my hope is that you might consider it. Thanks for your time.
Amy Scurria [ascurria(a)earthlink.net]
You simply MUST do Holst's arrangement for orchestra (I can tell you where to get the scores) of "I
vow to thee, my country." Text is by the British Ambassador to the US during WW I. We preceded the
War Requiem with this work about 8 years ago. It took forever for them to find the orchestral score,
but now that it is found . . . I've attached my program notes so you can understand the context.
For what it is worth, it was sung at both the wedding and funeral of the Princess of Wales.
Words: Cecil A. Spring-Rice, 1918.
Music: "Thaxted," Gustav T. Holst, The Planets, 1921
I vow to thee, my country-all earthly things above-
Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love;
The love that asks no question, the love that stands the test,
That lays upon the altar the dearest and the best;
The love that never falters, the love that pays the price,
The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.
And there's another country, I've heard of long ago-
Most dear to them that love her, most great to them that know;
We may not count her armies, we may not see her King;
Her fortress is a faithful heart, her pride is suffering;
And soul by soul and silently her shining bounds increase,
And her ways are ways of gentleness, and all her paths are peace.
I also heartily recommend for this sort of event "Mansions of the Lord" - which was recorded by the
US. West Point Choir - for a film but it was used as the recessional at Reagan's funeral. I didn't
think I would care for it when we first learned it would be used, but believe me, it was perfect for
the occasion and others that honor veterans.
Listen to it online at http://www.angelfire.com/ny5/ItisPeke/VDay.html
To fallen soldiers let us sing
Where no rockets fly nor bullets wing
Our broken brothers let us bring
To the Mansions of the Lord
No more bleeding, no more fight
No prayers pleading through the night
Just divine embrace, eternal light
In the Mansions of the Lord
Where no mothers cry and no children weep
We will stand and guard though the angels sleep
While through the ages safely keep
The Mansions of the Lord
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