John F. Kennedy

by Karl Hitzemann

On November 8, 1960, John F. Kennedy became the youngest man ever to be elected President of the United States. Following that, on January 20, 1961 he gave a memorable Inaugural Address to the people of the United States. In it, he described his vision for the future and how it could be achieved. One of the most memorable lines from his speech is the now-famous, "Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country."

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of this speech we have put together a song that talks a bit about Kennedy's life and incorporates that famous line from his address. It's a great opportunity for a cross curricular experience with the other teachers at your school. Whether you're studying John F. Kennedy, the 1960s, presidential history, folk music, etc., this song will fit in nicely.

The style of the song is in keeping with the folk music of that era and is very singable and unison (except for an optional divisi at the end). We've provided a playable piano part and guitar chords, and a totally live performance of this piece would work well. But the recorded accompaniment adds a lot to the overall tone of the piece by adding a rhythm section and strings, and is highly recommended.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.