United We Sing

by Teresa Jennings

Besides being infectiously happy, upbeat and positive, "United We Sing" is also the first song in this year's musical revue by the same name. As always, we will be providing the other songs, script, and production ideas in upcoming issues so that you will have a complete revue in your hands by early January. And, as usual, we encourage you to use it as we present it or change it any way you need to in order to make it work for you.

The theme for this revue is clearly music. The title song refers to the value and necessity of music, not just in America, but around the world. Our goal for this theme is to reinforce the power music has that no other medium or language has, and specifically to help you remind your students, colleagues, and community of this fact. At a time when music programs are struggling to survive, we feel this shot-in-the-arm is needed.

As you will hear the moment you put on your cassette, this song was meant to be sung, played, and moved to--and the use of the combination of South American and African styles adds to the global emphasis. Off the top, there is only brass, joined 8 measures later by a lively rhythm section, including drum set, congas, bass, two guitars, shekere, and Brazilian agogo bells. Take the time with your students to listen and see if you can identify each of these sounds. Listen for the entrance of the cuica during the percussion/dance break at measure 65. You can join in with the percussion break either by adding dance or movement, or by adding your own variety of percussion instruments. Try adding a different, distinctive sound every four measures. Be sure to count (or designate "counters" to keep track of the measures during the break) for entrances.

To make it more usable for a variety of grade levels, we have included a second part which can be sung in the bottom octave as indicated. This will work well for changing or changed voices. If you prefer, you can omit the second part completely.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.