America the Beautiful, beloved as a favorite patriotic hymn of many Americans, in some cases doubles as the U.S.’s unofficial second national anthem. The timeless words of Katharine Lee Bates set to Samuel A. Ward’s melody evoke the good and peaceful characteristics of our country.
This version, originally composed as an orchestral arrangement for the National Youth Orchestra of the United States of America as an encore for their 2014 tour and subsequently arranged by the composer for band, can be performed with or without chorus and/or audience participation. It is meant to portray the energy and optimism that our nation’s best young musicians experience as they combine their collective talents for an inspired summer of music creation.
The arrangement may be performed with or without singing. If there is singing, there are several options:
- It is possible to sing only the melody instead of the four-voice harmony (for audience participation).
- The first verse of singing, beginning at m. 18, may be optionally omitted or hummed instead of sung, as desired.
- The second verse of singing, beginning at the pickup to m. 55, can use the words from either stanza provided, depending on whether the first verse is sung.
- For an instrumental-only ending, the choir can stop singing at the end of the third beat of m. 70 (suggested if there in audience participation). Or, the choir can continue singing to the end, using the optional music provided.