We Are The People Of The 21st Century

by Teresa Jennings

A revue about the magic that we receive in each and every day can only culminate in majestic wonder! That is the emphasis of this grand finale, "We Are The People Of The 21st Century." While it will serve well as an ending for this musical revue, it can also be pulled out and used in any format you deem appropriate. For example, it could be used in a celebration defining the new millennium or century. And because it does not say that it is specifically for these purposes only, it will technically be a good and useful piece of music for about a hundred more years! (Think you'll still be teaching music then?)

This is one case where we feel very strongly that you should use the recording for performance. There is no way a piano can emulate an orchestra. We have gone to a great deal of trouble to produce a very grand accompaniment. A listen to the background version of the recording will reveal how extensive our efforts were in this regard. From the opening strings to the solo trumpet and horn, from the euphonium fanfares to the piccolo trumpet descants, from the full brass fanfares to the pulsing timpani and driving snares, this orchestration needs to be heard!

Right at the beginning, after two measures of a rhythmic string ostinato, all of your performers sing out with the melody over a pedal B flat. At measure 11, brass and piano enter with full chords continuing under the melody to the end of the phrase. A decrescendo into measure 22 leads into an optional solo section. On the recording, we began with one young soloist and changed to three others every four bars. We found this to be quite effective and not too scary for less outgoing singers. The last soloist crescendos into the pick-ups to measure 39 where the entire chorus joins in. Be sure to watch for the dynamic contrast within the phrases. These subtleties will add musically to the section.

The brass fanfare at measure 55 helps prepare the group for the upcoming key change. It also re-emphasizes the majesty and power of the concept of the song. When the chorus comes back in at measure 67, they reiterate the melody and lyrics exactly as before, making it easier to learn the song. There is an optional second part at this point which would add to the fullness of the song if you could do it. It is a simple, repetitious harmony and goes a bit lower than the melody (B below middle C).

This time, when the ensemble reaches the pick-ups to the melody at measure 87, all parts are peaking in intensity. The strings are positively soaring! On the recapitulation at measure 103, a dramatic pause in the motion is contrasted by a brass pyramid led by the euphonium. Once more into the fanfare, with piccolo trumpet cleanly on top, and the ending is, well, really big. The two vocal parts are divided (optionally) and have an alternate cut-off indicated on the part, in case it's a bit long for your performers. If you have a few singers who can sing the high E's clearly and well, they will enjoy this part. If you do not wish to use harmony at all, just use the melody.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.