Tuesday, March 1, 2011

This Is My Country

This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to hear a truly wonderful concert in Eastman Theater in Rochester, New York. It was a "Prism" concert featuring 28 choirs in the Rochester area who performed throughout the great Kodak Hall. In the audience, there were almost 3,000 people, listening to the different sounds and styles of wonderful singing groups.

At the end of the concert, all of us were invited to sing "This Is My Country". For me, this was the most moving part of the experience of being there, and thrilling to rehearse this refrain:

This is my country! Land of my birth!
This is my country! Grandest on Earth!
I pledge thee my allegiance, America, the bold,
For this is my country! To have and to hold.

Composed in the 1940s, the song and lyrics were written by Al Jacobs and Don Raye. Even 50 years after they were penned, they have the power to move me and 3,000 people in Kodak Hall. What an extraordinary experience!!! To feel myself unite and connect with that many people with my voice!!!

What would our world be like if we could unite like this throughout the world to bring peace, joy, love and hope to everyone? It is a powerful thought ... and can be envisioned when voices unite in a love for their nation and each other.

Here are the complete lyrics ...

What diff'rence if I hail from North or South
Or from the East or West?
My heart is filled with love for all of these.
I only know I swell with pride and deep within my breast
I thrill to see Old Glory paint the breeze.

With hand upon heart I thank the Lord For this my native land,
For all I love is here within her gates.
My sould is rooted deeply in the soil on which I stand,
For these are mine own United States.

This is my country! Land of my choice!
This is my country! Hear my proud voice!
I pledge thee my allegiance, America, the bold,
For this is my country! To have and to hold.

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