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July 4, 2008
Vol. VIII, No. 2

"Happy 4th of July!"
I hope you all had a happy and safe day. As citizens, we have a fondness for this patriotic holiday but as musicians, we have a special connection to the 4th. It's one of the few days of the year when we can refresh our memories of patriotic song titles under the guise of enjoying pyro-technical displays--name that Sousa march!

CNN has been running an article all day about the discovery of a rare manuscript of "My Country 'tis of Thee" at a flea market.
I can remember singing this song in Kindergarten, following The Pledge of Allegiance. I also remember my Dad saying on more than one occasion that he didn't think it was right that the words were sung to the tune of "God Save the Queen." While the CNN article states that "The song was intended to be played in schools to inspire and teach children," I suppose it's possible the tune was co-opted from the Crown in order to "re-educate" Americans in the same way that Luther used familiar beer-drinking songs to teach theology to the "Lutherans."

On a related note, this past Tuesday a singer at a city event in Denver caused a stir by performing the song "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing," which is also known as the "black national anthem," instead of the National Anthem. A lot of people seem to be upset about the singer's actions but I'm just shocked that I didn't know there was a piece of music considered to be the "black national anthem."

While I always enjoy hearing "The Stars and Stripes Forever," I didn't have time to learn it for a recital on Martha's Vineyard many years ago. I opted instead for the less-often-played Washington Post March, which was one of my long-time favorites. (As a kid growing up around Pittsburgh, I heard it many times as the theme music for "Studio Wrestling" on Channel 11.) Here's a great web page on Sousa from the Dallas Wind Symphony:

Now that the fireworks have faded away (at least on the East Coast), here's wishing your 5th of July is as safe and happy as your 4th!

Sheet Music Plus now carries titles from these publishers:

Grove Music - British publisher of public domain music arrangements for men's choir:

Promethean - New Zealand publisher of contemporary music:

JPM Music - concert band/chamber works:

MSB Publishing - concert band, jazz band and chamber ensemble publisher:

ClarNan Editions - historic music by women composers:

SoundForth - Christian music publisher (music publishing arm of Bob Jones University):

Wiscasset - Modern classical compositions, mainly by B. Warren:

Dan Long

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