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Monday, June 28, 2010

United, We Stand - Reimagining an Anthem for our Nation

The American College of Medical Informatimusicology normally focuses exclusively on the intersection of healthcare, informatics and music.  On occasion, however, we discard the shackles of protocol and discuss other topics of interest among Fellows of the College.  Our President and Founder, Dr. Ross Martin, recently made this submission, which we readily accepted in anticipation of our nation's upcoming independence celebration. 
A couple of weekends ago, PRI’s Studio 360 asked listeners to think about updating a couple of our traditional icons as we approach our annual 4th of July celebrations. One was Uncle Sam – what would a “mascot” for our nation look like today? The other, our National Anthem (which, according to one pole, 27% of Americans believe has a last line of “And the home of the brave… Play Ball!”).

I personally like our National Anthem a lot – it is a beautiful song with brave and poetic lyrics. But it is undeniably a challenge to sing for all but the upper tier of vocalists, with its greater than 1½-octave range (for perspective, Madonna never sings anything with more than a one-octave range, not that this is a shining example, but I hear she has made some money as a singer).

So last weekend, I posted a reimagining of the National Anthem in response to the Studio 360 challenge based on some Infinite Poetry® I wrote after 9/11. Let me know what you think… The song and a quickly assembled video are posted on YouTube.
It’s a simple song with only five lines that intuitively cycle back on themselves, so they are easy to remember:

…United, We Stand
Standing, We Rise
Rising, We Soar
Soaring, We’re Free
Free, We Unite
United, We Stand…

The simplicity of the song makes it easy to add parts, variations on the theme and personal interpretations—which reflects, to me, the bedrock of what makes our nation such a compelling and inspirational place: simple principles that allow for diversity and creative growth to live in harmony.
If you like it, please vote for it (you may have to join the group to vote). You can also leave a comment or “like” the video (you will need a Google or YouTube account).
Thanks for taking a look. If my submission is one of their favorites, it will be mentioned on the show this holiday weekend. Fame and fortune are sure to follow, so my future is in your hands…
;-)
Happy 4th!

2 comments:

  1. Ros, that's awesome. A very clever idea, a nice song, simple (and infinite lyrics), and even accompanying merchandise--what more could one ask?

    On the other hand it's infinitely repeatable nature makes it hard to know when it ends, making it difficult to use at ball games, races, and other civic events. Kind of like Shari Lewis' "This is the Song That Doesn't End..."

    That said, I still love it!

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  2. Thank you, Danny.

    The College agrees that a certain protocol must be established for the "official" singing of the anthem; we are drafting just such a recommendation wherein the song ends after each lyrical phrase has been sung to each musical phrase exactly once, i.e., when "United, We Stand" is sung in the last position of the four-phrase melody (the line with the high note on the end), this would indicate the closing of the song, at which time a rousing repeat of the line "United, We Stand" would be sung one last time.

    In effect, this would make the song about half as long as the version presented in the video.

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