by Teresa Jennings
Patriotic exuberance is called for when performing this piece. It's not so much a "song" as a fanfare and cheer, and you will no doubt find many applications for its use in your school. You could start or end pretty much any and every patriotic performance with it. You could use it to cheer on the home team in any competitive or sporting venue. And of course, you can add it to any celebrations of the Olympics, summer or winter, in which your school might engage. Any occasion where patriotic fervor is the rule of the day could work.
And here's a wild thought: Substitute your own shouts for "USA!" For example, the name of your school, your city or town, your state, or even your country. (Canada, anyone?) Even naming a person you are honoring could be cool. Your principal? A favorite teacher? A visiting dignitary? Or how about the names of your teams, clubs, or other groups? The background instrumental tracks are certainly majestic enough to imply an American theme, but if it fits otherwise for your situation, go for it.
The thing we found most fun in recording this piece was, well, the shouting. Not only did the kids enjoy it, but so did the grown-ups. We asked our own Plankers to take a break from their workday to gather together and shout as if standing in a huge arena. With the young voices in the foreground and the older ones in the back, we thought it came out pretty well. Consider doing likewise with your own blended groups.
There is actually a musical moment or two in this, by the way, which you probably zeroed in on instantly when you heard it. That is of course the subito (sudden) drop in dynamics and subsequent build back up to fortissimo. It's a neat effect and keeps everyone paying attention to actually being directed – a plus for music education purposes. Another musical plus is the addition of bells, which are optional. The part is very simple, so your players can learn it quickly and feel confident in their efforts. You'll find an extracted part for them on page 12.
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.