July 5, 1997 in Nation/World

Oh, Say Can You Sing The 2nd Verse? Well, No

Washington Post
 

“America the Beautiful” is a nice song. But who can remember the second verse, let alone the third?

Anyone thinking “pilgrim feet” and “alabaster cities” is on the right track.

Everybody knows that for most Americans these days, the pantheon of patriotic songs is rapidly diminishing to a few snatches of melody and a few dramatic images. Singing a complete song is almost out of the question.

Now a group of music teachers is trying to do something about it.

A compact disc of 20 key songs performed by military bands was released Friday by the Music Educators National Conference. It’s called “Sing America!”

A total of 50,000 copies will be given away nationwide in the coming weeks, according to the music educators organization, which represents music instructors across the country.

The songs - performed by musicians from the Army, the Marine Corps, the Navy, the Air Force and the Coast Guard - are presented instrumentally on the album.

The lyrics are included in the liner notes.

Besides obvious selections like “The Star Spangled Banner,” “America the Beautiful” and “America (My Country, ‘Tis of Thee),” the disc includes tunes such as “Over There” and “When Johnny Comes Marching Home.”

Woodie Guthrie, the left-wing folk singer, is included with a version of “This Land Is Your Land.” But some of his lyrics aren’t printed, notably the verse where Guthrie appears to take a dim view of private property upon confronting a “No Trespassing” sign.

When the free supply runs out, the CDs will be available for about $5, the production cost. For information, call the music educators at 703-860-4000.

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