I just completed three fantastic Patriotic Concerts with the Roswell UMC Sanctuary Choir and Atlanta Wind Symphony and was reminded of the tremendous emotional impact music often has on us. Many audience members told me they were in tears through much of the concert and I even heard from several performers who told me how moved they were by the music they were performing. Our concert included many of the Patriotic “standards” such as America, the Beautiful, God Bless America, Battle Hymn of the Republic, Armed Forces Salute, and Stars and Stripes Forever.
While we didn’t perform it in our concert this year, one of my favorite patriotic hymns is This Is My Song, sung to the Jean Sibelius tune FINLANDIA. I believe it speaks to me so deeply because it reminds me that love of country is not unique to citizens of the United States of America. The text, written by Lloyd Stone in 1934, goes as follows:
This is my song, O God of all the nations,
a song of peace for lands afar and mine.
This is my home, the country where my heart is;
here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
but other hearts in other lands are beating
with hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
My country’s skies are bluer than the ocean
and sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
but other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
and skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
a song of peace for their land and for mine.
These words help me remember that I am not only a citizen of the USA, but also of the world. As such, I wish for all the peoples of the world freedom, justice and happiness.
The great patriotic music we enjoy each July 4th includes the themes listed above and when performed and heard with true sincerity this music encourages us to be the country our forefathers envisioned. For all of you, I wish a safe and happy holiday which will hopefully include some thrilling and soul-stirring music. Happy Birthday, America!
Filed under: Choral experiences | Tagged: Atlanta Wind Symphony, Finlandia, Fourth of July, July 4th, Lloyd Stone, Michael O'Neal, Patriotic Concerts, Roswell UMC Sanctuary Choir, Sibelius | Leave a Comment »