Thankful For The U.S.A.
by Teresa Jennings
This song is an inspiration and a reminder to all of us that we are truly fortunate to be Americans. Despite our differences of opinion and problems to solve, we are all blessed with freedom and certain inalienable rights - and that is a great equalizer. Though this song is perfect for use around Thanksgiving, it is also perfect any time at all!
We do feel that the best implementation of the tune will come from the use of the P/A recording. We have made sure it is highly energetic and lots of fun! Sandy Williams plays the solo electric guitar lines, as well as a few other guitar layers, including a strumming 12-string part. Jim Farrelly soars above the tune after the key change with his distinctive, bluesy alto sax solo. The background winds, which we have affectionately termed our "Nashville Brass," also keep things lively, as does our phenomenal drummer, Dane Clark. While you could technically play this on piano (playing the solo guitar cues), it just wouldn't be the same.
We think every kid will learn this song easily and have a good time singing it, especially if you add the claps (which are indicated on the music). The melody is simple and memorable, not to mention repetitious. In fact, we're betting that even your audience will pick it up so fast that you will be able to invite them to sing along by the time you get to the key change!
We do have an alternate suggestion for the clapping when you get to measure 27. You will hear the claps on the CD as indicated above the music. But if you want to get more carried away, try the option which is indicated at the bottom of page 20. If you do go into eighth notes on the repeat, make sure the music is good and loud so your students can stay with the beat!
Our singers in the studio particularly enjoyed this song and wanted to share a suggestion. When singing the words "positively joyful," really get into it. You can hear this in their voices. And you can tell they mean it!
You will notice that we suggest you bring out some small, individual American flags for the ending of the tune. Be sure to have the flags handy so this happens easily, but do not let students put the flags on the floor! An alternative to everyone waving a flag would be to have many of them wave flags while many others continue to clap.
At the very end of the song, let your students cheer and wave their flags and/or clap (applaud) freely. On the CD, you will hear that some of our kids broke into chanting "U.S.A." over and over. We're guessing your audience might just join in!
Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.