The tradition of using brass in church services on or around Memorial Day, July 4th, and Veteran's Day is well established throughout the United States of America. The biggest issue seems to be finding something to play that matches up with the players available in your sometimes vacation-depleted brass ensemble.
This is a piece written for just that purpose. While this piece was originally scored for one trumpet and two trombones with piano accompaniment, two alternate parts are included that can substitute for the first trombone: a trumpet part and a french horn part. This piece, therefore, can be performed with almost any combination of three brass instruments, provided one is a soprano voice, one an alto/tenor voice, and one a tenor/baritone voice.
The piece begins with the piano simulating three bells ringing in a church bell tower. Solo passages of one stanza of My Country 'Tis of Thee (AMERICA, composer unknown) are played by the two trombones.
As the bells cease to ring, the trumpet plays a free-flowing stanza of America, the Beautiful (MATERNA, Samuel A. Ward) with a simple piano accompaniment. The trombones join with the trumpet to give us our first hearing of the trio sound in the "America, America" passage.
A fanfare leads us into a trombone duet of one stanza of God Of Our Fathers (NATIONAL HYMN, George W. Warren) with minimal piano accompaniment. This is then reprised with an exciting trumpet descant. A double "Amen" for all three instruments with a stirring piano accompaniment closes the piece.
MY COUNTRY 'TIS OF THEE
Our fathers' God, to Thee
Author of liberty,
To Thee we sing;
Long may our land be bright
With freedom's holy light;
Protect us by Thy might,
Great God our King.
--- Samuel F. Smith
AMERICA, THE BEAUTIFUL
O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
May God thy gold refine
Till all success be nobleness
And every gain divine!
--- Katherine L. Bates
GOD OF OUR FATHERS
Thy love divine hath led us in the past;
In this free land by Thee our lot is cast;
Be Thou our ruler, guardian, guide, and stay,
Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way.
Refresh Thy people on their toilsome way;
Lead us from night to never-ending day;
Fill all our lives with love and grace divine;
And glory, laud, and praise be ever Thine.
--- Daniel C. Roberts
MP3 sound sample: Village Brass 2010.
GOD OF LIBERTY, arranged for brass trio with piano by Tom Kirkland, comes in a pdf file of 1135K, with a twelve-page score, eight-page piano part, three two-page brass parts, two two-page alternate brass parts, and a license page, thirty-one pages in all. Performance time should be about 3:40.
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Last update: 24 APR 2023