O Beautiful, O Spacious Sky
8-Part Mixed Choir
I was originally commissioned to do this arrangement as part of an art installation that was a critique of American oppression, inequality, and the white washing of our own history. But when I spent an extended period of time with the lyrics for America The Beautiful, I couldn’t bring myself to do it with this piece.
I’ve often wished America The Beautiful were our national anthem. It’s not a song that glorifies war or proselytizes patriotism, rather the lyrics celebrate the natural beauty of this landscape and asks us to renew our commitment to the original ideals on which the nation was founded. I’m not uncritical of this country, far from it, and know we have never been even close to living those ideals, but they are still worth remembering and striving towards. There is still room for hope. That’s what I’ve tried to convey in this extended arrangement: a sense of yearning, even pleading, for us to remember the best we are capable of, and an invocation to the land itself that we may embrace it.