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America the Beautiful

Katharine Lee Bates, 1895

Katharine Lee Bates wrote the poem "Pikes Peak" after a train trip to Colorado. The poem was published in a pamphlet for the Fourth of July two years later and became an instant hit. She revised the poem in 1904 and it was set to several different pieces of music. By 1910, a hymn written by church organist Samuel Ward for "O Mother Dear, Jerusalem" was generally considered to be the favorite.

While its popularity has inspired pushes to give it legal status as an alternate (or primary) national anthem, it remains unofficial.

original music by Samuel Ward, 1882

America_the_Beautiful
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This is a lovely piece to sing in harmony if you have the singers to support it. Here is the classic SATB arrangement.

America_the_Beautiful 4-part
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O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet,
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine!

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

songs based on
"America the Beautiful"

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