In Honor of Memorial Day

…I’m reposting the video below, which I originally put up last November as Patriotism: Not Quite Dead in the Public Schools. This was the original post:

Conservatives tend to be skeptical of the public schools, which too often put more stock in political correctness than either academic achievement or traditional values. So when the public schools do something well, it’s good to take notice.

In the school district where I live, a concert is put on annually by the four high school choirs, plus a little kids’ choir of elementary school children, of which my youngest daughter is a member. Participation in the high school choirs is competitive and their quality is high. A director for the concert is brought in from the outside, generally from a college. The concert begins with a couple of numbers by the kids’ choir; this year, they started with a medley of The Pledge of Allegiance and America the Beautiful. The crowd–I live in a middle-of-the-road, non-elite area–loved it. The four high school choirs perform separately, and then at the end, they combine in a single large choir for a couple of songs. Most of the music sung is classical; lots of it is religious, often in Latin. As I said, the quality is high.

For the finale, they bring out the kids’ choir to sing with all four high schools. This year, the finale was Battle Hymn of the Republic. I found the arrangement deeply moving. The little kids get the first verse to themselves, then the high schoolers join in. A small band accompanies the choir. I filmed the song with my digital camera.

Anyway, here it is. I hope it’s a day-brightener for you, as it was for me. If you can keep a dry eye to the end, you’re made of sterner stuff than me. I wasn’t the only one, though; the applause that followed the performance was absolutely deafening.

I almost didn’t do the original post, as I wasn’t sure anyone else would be interested. As it happened, the video got a remarkable response. A few days ago, I got a call from a veteran who asked me about the “Battle Hymn of the Republic.” It took me a moment to understand what he was talking about, and he said, “Don’t you know? It’s all over the internet! It’s been emailed to me three times.” Someone took the audio portion of the video and added patriotic and religious images; that version has been very popular on the web. This individual was calling to get permission to use the video at a reunion of his Army unit to take place later this summer in Texas.

The video is shot from a perspective where you mostly see the little kids; the high school choirs are only partly visible. Here it is:

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