Glad For Their Thanksgiving

by Teresa Jennings

We can only imagine how difficult life must have been for the pilgrims when they came to this new world centuries ago. They had to carve out an existence from the wilderness, trying to overcome huge obstacles. Many did not survive, yet those who did persevered. Such was their desire for freedom and their belief it could be found here. Today, we most often think of the pilgrims at Thanksgiving. We have a vision of the bounty of a harvest at that time, but we seldom truly consider the struggles as well.

This unique piece offers an opportunity to not only sing about the realities of their experience, it gives you a valuable teaching tool that you can share with the classroom teachers, bringing the lesson across the curriculum. (And once again reinforcing the importance and value of music.)

The song is an anthem, a story song, if you will. It tells the tale in general terms, but does so with a profound and powerful tone. We really think your singers will like it a lot. Ours did. It builds as it goes, culminating in an a cappella section at the end, at which point the instrumental background simply stops. The resulting vocal experience is dramatic and exciting for singers, and you should encourage yours to sing with all they have at that moment. Have them really lay into the accented words, too.

If you are a little shy about this with your singers, we have provided an alternate mix (full and accompaniment) that does not go into an a cappella section. The background tracks simply continue similarly to measures 21 through 28 and have an ending after the singing is done.

Part 2 is also optional, but it only occurs during the chorus and it's not particularly difficult. It's worth the effort to include it if you can, especially if you're going for the a cappella section. (Find a few older students to join in and help with this and/or sing along yourself.)

There are a few isolated audio web extras that can help with learning parts, too: part 1, part 2, and parts 1 and 2 together. You can find these as well as the alternate mixes for this song on our web site, free to subscribers. (See page 78 for details.)

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.