You Are Our Heroes (solo and chorus)

by Teresa Jennings

While it's true that this song was written in response to the horrific events of September 11, 2001, it's also true that we should have had a song for our heroes a long time ago. Heroes are always among us and we don't recognize them enough. At the very least, they deserve our appreciation. That's what this song is about.

Though it is dedicated to the heroes of September 11, we hope that you will consider using it to honor the heroes in your own world as well. Firefighters, policemen, rescue workers, veterans - anyone who has ever put their life on the line for others deserves to be recognized and honored. And many times, heroes are just regular folks like us who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. What can we say to a hero? We can say thank you.

We have recorded this song a number of ways to offer you flexibility for your own purposes. The first version features our wonderful soloist, Missy Schott, prominently throughout the song. The chorus enters behind the solo at the pick-ups into 17 and stays in to the end. The second version is all solo. The third version has the solo at the beginning only and is then unison chorus throughout. At the very end, the soloist joins in for the final "Thank you." The fourth version is, of course, the instrumental tracks.

Depending on what grades you use, how many students you use, whether you have one soloist or two or more, you should have plenty of choices to work with. We think all the vocal versions are good, so the toughest thing may be deciding which option to use. Or you may even come up with a different one yet. Anything is fine.

Of note on the recording is our superb oboe soloist, Anna Mattix. You will also hear a lush orchestration that includes rhythm, winds, and strings, which helps the tune build beautifully. However, if you do choose to perform the song without the CD, you will at least need a couple of oboists and a decent pianist. If oboists are in short supply for you, you could substitute other lyrical instruments, such as flutes, flugelhorns, soprano saxophones, and so on. Transpose the lines as needed. They are included on the piano/vocal score.

Always sensitive to teachers' needs, we have offered alternate lyrics at measure 21. We're hoping that most of you can use the original lyrics, as we feel they are the most powerful. But if you can't, we've provided suggestions. One keeps the reference to blessings, but eliminates "God." The other two eliminate both references. As always, if you prefer, you can rewrite the lyrics yourself.

You may also wish to adapt the song to be sung to a singular hero, in which case, just change "heroes" to "hero" throughout. If you are using a soloist who is making the song more personal, she could even sing "You are my hero (or heroes)."

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.