I have been teaching in my position for almost 11 years, and in that time I and my string colleagues have been called upon with increasing frequency to provide music for Flag Day festivities at our various schools. In the past I have relied on Soon Hee Newbold’s Honor and Glory, which is wonderful, but not as recognizably patriotic as more traditional tunes; an arrangement of America the Beautiful that I did for combined beginning strings and beginning band which is a logistical nightmare; and my own arrangement of Rally ‘Round the Flag, which is really too difficult for most second-year groups.
I was looking for other options and the arrangements I found were either too difficult for my beginning students or arranged to be so easy that the tune was barely recognizable. So after some conversations with some of my colleagues, I set to work a couple of summers ago to arrange a collection of patriotic pieces for use in Flag Day ceremonies. My goals were for the arrangements be brief for placement in a ceremonial setting, as true as possible to the original melodies, and technically within reach for players at the end of their second year (for me that is players that generally have played Minuet 1, 2, and 3 from Suzuki).
The tunes I arranged include America the Beautiful, You’re a Grand Old Flag, The Star Spangled Banner, America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee), and, just in case, Hail to the Chief. I showed them to my colleagues and they seemed to fit the bill; three of us used at least some of the pieces in our flag day ceremonies last June.
I am very pleased to announce that Kendor has accepted this collection, dubbed Flag Day Survival Kit, for publication, minus Hail to the Chief, which was eliminated to make the collection more compact. I do hope that this proves a useful addition to the libraries of elementary string teachers in the U.S.A. Kendor will initially offer the piece in October 2017 and then promote it in their spring 2018 catalog.
You can listen to draft recordings below:
America The Beautiful
Grand Old Flag
The Star Spangled Banner
America (My Country ‘Tis of Thee)