Summer Choir and America, the Beautiful

Summer Choir

Summer Choir begins on Sunday, July 02. All singers of high school age and up are invited to participate! Beginning at 9am in the Music Suite, we will rehearse Sunday’s anthem and next Sunday’s anthem. We will follow this schedule from July 2 through August 13. If you have wanted to sing in Sanctuary Choir but cannot commit to Wednesday night rehearsals, this is your chance to join in.

America, the Beautiful

On Sunday, July 2, the Sanctuary Choir will present an arrangement of America, the Beautiful as part of Morning Worship. Some of you may know the poemAmerica, the Beautifulwas written by Katharine Lee Bates on a visit to Pikes Peak. Below is a more detailed account of this popular hymn you might find interesting. Tiffany Shomskywrote this brief history for www.Hymnary.org.

In 1893 Katharine Lee Bates, an English professor from Massachusetts, took a trip west. Her destination was Colorado Springs, where she was going to teach a summer class, but she stopped along the way at the Columbian World Exposition in Chicago, where the “White City” exhibition made a deep impression on her. The train took her through the vast Kansas wheat fields, which were a new sight to her New England eyes, accustomed as they were to hills and close horizons. At the end of the summer class, Bates and some Eastern colleagues rode to the top of Pikes Peak, where, as she later wrote, “It was then and there, as I was looking out over the sea-like expanse of fertile country spreading away so far under those ample skies, that the opening lines of the hymn floated into my mind” (as quoted in Companion to the United Methodist Hymnal, Carlton R. Young, p. 209). Before she boarded the train east, she had written the four stanzas of this hymn, incorporating the images of America that had made an impression on her during her trip. Two years later, the text was published in The Congregationalist. Bates revised her text substantially over the years, and its final form appeared in her history of the hymn for the Boston Athenaeum library in 1918.

The tune MATERNA, composed by Samuel Ward, is Latin for “motherly” It derives its name from the hymn “O Mother Dear, Jerusalem,” for which it was originally written. Accounts vary on whether he wrote it on his shirt cuff while crossing New York Harbor in 1882, or whether he wrote it in memory of his daughter in 1885. Whichever is the case, it was not published until 1888 in The Parish Choir. It was paired with Bates’s text in 1912. This pairing became very popular during World War I, and has remained well known ever since.