by Karl Hitzemann
Arlington National Cemetery is a United States military cemetery in Arlington, Virginia. It dates back to the Civil War and is the burial ground for more than 400,000 active duty service members, veterans, and family members. The cemetery contains several memorials, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and it is the final resting place for Presidents William Howard Taft and John F. Kennedy. With a quick Internet search you will find many interesting and fascinating facts about Arlington National Cemetery.
To honor this hallowed place, we created the song "Arlington." It begins simply and reverently with a brass choir. Listen for the chime on the downbeat of measure 8, as it will be a good cue for your singers' entrance – they start two beats after the chime. Once the singers start, the accompaniment becomes a stirring full orchestra, which at times features an expressive trumpet solo, played beautifully by John Rommel. By the way, you will also hear a chime at the end of the song which works well as a cut-off for the singers.
At the coda, the piece hints at the famous bugle call "Taps." At this point, you might consider having your singers put their hands over their hearts for the remainder of the song. (Please note that we also have a very moving arrangement of "Taps" by Teresa Jennings. It's available in Music K-8, Vol. 21, No. 5 and as a Singles Reproducible Kit. You can find more information on our web site at MusicK8.com)
Beginning at measure 25 there is a second vocal part. It is optional, of course, but it really does add to the drama and emotion of the piece. To help your singers learn the part, we have created an isolated part 2 rehearsal track, which you can find on our web site.
There are many cross curricular opportunities here – the vast history of the cemetery, the many wars and battles that are represented there, our nation's military, and much more. As with any topic that you can bring across the curriculum through the use of music, we recommend you communicate with other teachers to let them know of this useful musical tool. This song would be a wonderful addition to any patriotic program or memorial service.
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.