75°F
Sponsored by

4th of July - The Stars and Stripes Forever

<div style="text-align: center" mce_style="text-align: center"><a href="http://bigcountryhomepage.com/holiday/4thofJuly/fulltext?nxd_id=151981" mce_href="http://bigcountryhomepage.com/holiday/4thofJuly/fulltext?nxd_id=151981"><img src="/images/Multi_Media/bigcountryhomepage/nxd_media/img/gif/2009_06/c099262e-f9d9-c9a4-8164-42143763a20a/raw.gif" mce_src="images/Multi_Media/bigcountryhomepage/nxd_media/img/gif/2009_06/c099262e-f9d9-c9a4-8164-42143763a20a/raw.gif" alt=" " style="border-width: 0px; margin: 5px" mce_style="border-width: 0px; margin: 5px" border="0" hspace="5" vspace="5"><br>The Stars and Stripes Forever</a> <br></div>
THE STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER
(See below for complete lyrics)
LISTEN TO STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER MP3

John Philip Sousa was America's "March King." He was surrounded by music from birth: his father played trombone with the U.S. Marine Band and as a child he studied violin as well as music theory. He grew up during the Civil War in Washington, D.C., where martial music was frequently played both in homes and on the streets.

Sousa attended band rehearsals with his father and, after his parents disapproved of his joining a circus band, was pressed into service as an apprentice musician with the Marine Band. By age twenty-six he was the Band's director -- a position he held from 1880-1892. During those years Sousa added to the Band's repertoire not only the work of Europe's then contemporary composers (Tchaikovsky, Verdi, Wagner and others) but also compositions of his own such as "President Garfield's Inauguration March (1881)," "Semper Fidelis (1888)," and "The Washington Post" (1889).

Sousa was the greatest musical star of his era, combining the charisma and popularity of Leonard Bernstein and the Beatles. He was so popular that he left the Marine Band to start his own band in 1892. It toured the nation with unparalleled success.

Four years later, while on vacation in Europe with his wife, Sousa received word that his good friend and band manager, David Blakely, had died. Sousa quickly returned to the States aboard the S.S. Teutonic. Pacing the deck of the ship, the music of "The Stars and Stripes Forever" began to come to him, its first stirring notes being those of the "Dies Irae." As he wrote in his autobiography, " ...absorbed in thoughts of my manager's death and the many duties and decisions which awaited me in New York. Suddenly, I began to sense a rhythmic beat of a band playing within my brain. Throughout the whole tense voyage, that imaginary band continued to unfold the same themes, echoing and re-echoing the most distant melody. I did not transfer a note of that music to paper while I was on the steamer, but when we reached shore, I set down the measures that my brain-band had been playing for me, and not a note of it has ever changed." For twenty-five years Sousa's Band played the march at almost every concert it held. Although the piece is always played as an instrumental, Sousa did set words -- somewhat triumphalistic by today's standards -- to it.

Let martial note in triumph float
And liberty extend its might hand
A flag appears 'mid thunderous cheers,
The banner of the Western land.

Sousa always wore a neat military-like uniform when he conducted, displayed a lot of vim and vigor on stage, and carried himself with remarkably fine posture. He was the prolific composer of 15 operettas, 70 songs, numerous overtures, concert pieces, vocal works, waltzes, books and articles, along with his 136 marches.

"The Stars and Stripes Forever" was declared the National March of the United States in 1987. Sousa's other marches included "El Capitan," "The Pathfinder of Panama," "Hands Across the Sea," "Solid Men to the Front" and "The High School Cadets." Sousa also composed a number of pieces to encourage student bands and music education in U.S. schools: "Marquette University March," "University of Illinois March" and "University of Nebraska March."

The Stars and Stripes Forever
by John Philip Sousa

Let martial note in triumph float
And liberty extend its mighty hand
A flag appears 'mid thunderous cheers,
The banner of the Western land.
The emblem of the brave and true
Its folds protect no tyrant crew;
The red and white and starry blue
Is freedom's shield and hope.
Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom's nation.

Hurrah for the flag of the free!
May it wave as our standard forever,
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with mighty endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.

Let eagle shriek from lofty peak
The never-ending watchword of our land;
Let summer breeze waft through the trees
The echo of the chorus grand.
Sing out for liberty and light,
Sing out for freedom and the right.
Sing out for Union and its might,
O patriotic sons.
Other nations may deem their flags the best
And cheer them with fervid elation,
But the flag of the North and South and West
Is the flag of flags, the flag of Freedom's nation.

Hurrah for the flag of the free.
May it wave as our standard forever
The gem of the land and the sea,
The banner of the right.
Let despots remember the day
When our fathers with might endeavor
Proclaimed as they marched to the fray,
That by their might and by their right
It waves forever.

Page: [[$index + 1]]
comments powered by Disqus
Looking for a Job?