A poignant, dramatic new setting of The Navy Hymn, suitable for both patriotic celebrations and worship services. Commissioned for the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination, the piece was premiered on a President’s Day concert at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. (Video above is dress rehearsal for the premiere). Orchestration is 126.96.36.199, 188.8.131.52, Percussion, Timpani, Harp, Strings.
When I was commissioned to write a piece for chorus and orchestra for the National President’s Day Choral Festival (in Washington, DC) honoring John F. Kennedy, we decided to look for a piece that was performed at President Kennedy’s funeral. In researching the funeral music, we found that the Navy Band played The Navy Hymn (Eternal Father Strong To Save) as JFK’s casket was carried up the steps of the Capitol Rotunda, in honor of his heroic service in the US Navy in World War II.
This new setting (premiered at the Kennedy Center, less than 3 miles from the Capital steps) begins with brass playing strains of the ending of The Navy Hymn, as if it were still echoing across the town, and in our memories. The strings then introduce new material based on the opening melodic motive of the hymn, ushering the listener into the new arrangement. The setting as a whole has a rather poignant tinge to it, echoing the grief of a nation that lost its beloved 35th President.
In honor of JFK’s service in the Navy, this setting uses the original William Whiting text. However, any of the more recent versions of the text (which include other branches of the US Armed Forces) may be substituted if desired.
Tags: American, Memorial, Patriotic
Instrumentation: Piano, Organ, Orchestra, Audience