The Navy Hymn

arr. Karl Hitzemann

"Eternal Father, Strong to Save" has been around for over 150 years. Written by John B. Dykes and William Whiting, it became widely known as "The Navy Hymn" because of its inclusion at many services and ceremonies at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. This iconic hymn was a favorite of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who served as the Secretary of the Navy. It was played by the Navy Band as President John F. Kennedy's body was carried up the steps of the U.S. Capitol to lie in state. Kennedy served in the Navy as a PT boat commander during World War II. It was also sung at the funerals of presidents Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Gerald Ford. This piece would be very fitting for a Memorial Day service, or any program honoring the men and women who have faithfully served our great country.

Our arrangement features a full orchestra, but you could also do a very moving live performance with the provided piano accompaniment. That way, you could also add more verses if you wanted. A quick Internet search will bring you many options for alternate or additional stanzas.

You can, of course, sing this arrangement more simply by using just parts 1 and 2, or by singing it in unison. If you have an older, more experienced group, you might consider singing it a cappella.

On our web site, you will find a number of extras for this song including an alternate version featuring all three vocal parts and just the piano accompaniment. There are also isolated rehearsal tracks for parts 2 and 3. (See details in the box on page 67 for downloadables.)

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.