Blessed Peace (The End Of The Civil War)

by Mike Wilson

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.

It was springtime in Appomattox, Virginia. The date was April 9th of 1865. General Robert E. Lee conceded victory to General Ulysses S. Grant, marking the end of the bloodiest conflict America has ever known. In fact, more Americans died in the Civil War than both World War I and World War II combined. Was the cause worthwhile? You bet. Among other issues, America became one of the first nations on Earth to abolish the long-standing act of slavery. We can, and should, take pride in that. Four long years of conflict that pitted the North against the South, and brother against brother. The soldiers were weary and the entire country yearned for peace. This song speaks of the hardship, and hope for that blessed peace.

A mandolin opens the song to immediately give it that Civil War era vibe. The pentatonic melody contributes to it as well. You might want to explain to your students what a pentatonic scale is, and even give them an example by playing "Amazing Grace" on the black notes of the piano.

There are three vocal parts to this song that rise and fall dynamically with the ascending and descending of the melody line. Parts 2 and 3 are optional, and we've created practice mixes for them. We also included a unison version in case you don't have the numbers to pull it off with three parts. (See details on page 70.)

In April 2015, we commemorate the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War. Use this song for your students' cross curricular studies of that historical event. And let the classroom teachers know you have this (and other) musical resources to help. (See Quodlibet, page 73 for more resources.)