by Teresa Jennings
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.
This piece is perfectly patriotic, complete with piccolos, percussion, and plenty of pomp! If your school is one that celebrates both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln every February, this song is for you. Technically, the federal holiday that falls on the third Monday of February is called "Washington's Birthday" and honors only him. However, since Abraham Lincoln also has a February birthday and is considered a great American president, many states choose to honor both men on this day. They call it Presidents' Day.
The song is designed to be singable by even your youngest performers. However, keep in mind that the narrations might be more suited to students who are good readers and/or speakers. The idea of the song is that the unison chorus is sung four times. In between each time, there is a spoken narration which tells something about each president. The narrations are basic and informational in nature and can be easily adapted if you wish. We recommend using different speakers, but do what's right for you. There is a little bit of flexibility in the music for the timing of the narrations so that they are finished before the next chorus is sung. But this is where those good readers will come in handy. They definitely need to stay on top of it. Our narrators can give them a good example of how this works. They were (in order) Celia Ellsworth, Shelbie Phillips, and Brianna Staley.
As an extension of this song, contributing editor Katie Ebel has created a reproducible student page for this topic which you can find on our web site. (See bottom of page 68 for details.) Be sure to let the classroom teachers know that you have these materials at the ready for cross curricular reinforcement. (Reminding others of the value of music on a regular basis is always good for your music program. cross curricular pieces like this are especially helpful.)