Our Heroes Will Live On

by Teresa Jennings

Today, many Americans use Memorial Day to honor and remember loved ones who have passed away. But originally, this American holiday was meant to commemorate the men and women who gave their lives in service of their country. The song "Our Heroes Will Live On" was written with this original intention in mind. It could also be used for Veterans Day, Patriot Day, or any occasion honoring American heroes no longer with us.

The lyrics are poetic, and indeed, could be read as a poem instead of used in a song. They speak of sacrifice, valor, bravery, and of course, remembrance. Through our memories of their lives and their deeds, our heroes do live on.

The music is gentle and should be performed tenderly. Have singers use their head voices if possible, and strive for a clear tone. While the song is written in unison and meant to be sung by a group of children, it might also be a good feature for a soloist.

The phrasing is mostly in three and a half measure increments, so the breathing can occur naturally on the rests. The exception is during the final statement each time (measures 19 and 25). If students are unable to sing the entire phrase in one breath (or stagger breathe), they can breathe where the breath marks are indicated in parentheses.

The orchestration on the recording is decidedly touching with an air of distant military elements (muted trumpets, muffled snares). The haunting penny whistle sets the tone. While the piece could be played live on piano, it would benefit from the addition of a solo instrument playing the cued penny whistle parts. Flute, recorder, oboe, etc., would work.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.