Those Who Served
by Teresa Jennings
This song was originally written for use on or around Memorial Day. It honors the brave men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country. However, it does not say anything specifically about this in the lyrics. The tone and interpretation of the piece will depend on the circumstances under which it is presented. Indeed, it could be used to honor living veterans during Veterans Day celebrations as well. In fact, if you wish to use it for troops currently serving (not veterans), you could simply change the tense of the verbs in the song accordingly. For example, "We honor those who serve" (instead of "served"). Also, change the word "gave" to "give," and so on.
The melody is simple and written in unison throughout until the very end. At this point, there is a written vocal divisi, which is optional. Choose whatever note or notes work with your singers.
Be sure to have students sing appropriately with the style as it changes - bold and accented, or gently and poignantly. The singers on our Performance/Accompaniment CD give a good example of how this should work.
The instrumental arrangement on the CD is filled with orchestral brass, strings, and percussion which gives it a classic grand and majestic feel. But, the piano part is written in such a way that the song could be performed live with just piano.
It is suggested on the music that during the fanfare introduction a color guard or flag bearers enter the performance area (assuming you are using the piece in performance). Have them step slowly and purposefully to the beat as they move. Rehearse their entrance, including how far they will go, where they will stop, how they will turn together to face the audience, etc. Invite local military personnel or veterans to participate in this part of the pageantry to make it more memorable.
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.