On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. This declaration announced to the world that the 13 colonies would no longer be held by British rule. Today Americans celebrate by the flying of a flag, cooking at home (usually a cookout, also known as a barbecue), and watching a brilliant fireworks display.
Be sure your student reads and listens to Today’s Daily Listening Assignment
• 1826 ~ Stephen Foster, American composer of songs
More information about Foster
• 1832 ~ It was on this day that America was sung in public for the first time — at the Park Street Church in Boston, MA. Dr. Samuel Francis Smith wrote the words, borrowing the tune from a German songbook. Ironically, and unknown to Dr. Smith at the time, the melody is the same as the British national anthem.
• 1895 ~ America the Beautiful, the famous song often touted as the true U.S. national anthem, was originally a poem written by Katherine Lee Bates. The Wellesley College professor’s poem was first published this day in the Congregationalist, a church newspaper.
• 1898 ~ Michael Aaron, Piano Educator
• 1902 ~ George Murphy, American politician (US Senator, California), actor and dancer (MGM Parade)
• 1909 ~ Alec Templeton, Pianist
• 1911 ~ Mitch Miller, American conductor, oboist, record company executive, producer, arranger for the Sing Along with Mitch LPs and TV show
• 1937 ~ Ray Pillow, Singer
• 1938 ~ Bill Withers, Grammy Award-winning songwriter, singer
• 1942 ~ The Irving Berlin musical, This is the Army, opened at New York’s Broadway Theatre. Net profits of the show were $780,000.
• 1943 ~ Al ‘Blind Owl’ Wilson, Musician, guitarist, harmonica, singer with Canned Heat
• 1943 ~ The Rhythm Boys, Bing Crosby, Al Rinker and Harry Barris, were reunited for the first time since the 1930s on Paul Whiteman Presents on NBC radio.
• 1948 ~ Jeremy Spencer, Musician, guitarist with Fleetwood Mac
• 1955 ~ John Waite, Singer
• 1958 ~ Kirk Pengily, Rock Musician
• 1985 ~ A crowd, estimated at one million, gathered in Philadelphia to celebrate the 209th anniversary of America’s independence. The Beach Boys were joined by Mr. T. on drums to really add some fireworks to the festivities. The Oak Ridge Boys, Joan Jett and Jimmy Page joined in the celebration.
• 1999 ~ Ronny Graham passed away
• 2001 ~ Maceo Anderson, a tap dancer and founding member of the Four Step Brothers, died in Los Angeles at the age of 90. The group tap-danced all over the world, performing for the queen of England and the emperor of Japan. The Four Step Brothers also performed at Radio City Music Hall. The group started as a trio. In the mid-1920s, the group performed at the Cotton Club with Duke Ellington, who wrote The Mystery Song for them. Anderson began dancing as a child in the South. When he was six, he and his mother moved to a basement apartment in Harlem. He taught tap dance at his own school in Las Vegas and across the country until 1999.
Today is a great day for patriotic music and there’s nothing better than John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever
A part of every Fourth of July program at the Esplanade in Boston involves a giant American flag unfurling from the ceiling during the Stars and Stripes. Can you find it?
Piano arrangement by Vladimir Horowitz:
With Horowitz playing:
The Muppets version of Stars and Stripes forever
The animated graphical score:
The Band of the Grenadier Guards
The same melody can be heard with these words:
John Philip Sousa’s Stars and Stripes Forever is never part of a regular circus program. It is reserved for emergency use – sometimes called the “Disaster March”. If a major problem happens — an animal gets loose, a high wind threatens the tent, or a fire breaks out — the band plays the march as a warning signal to every worker on the circus lot that something is wrong.
Find piano arrangements of the Stars and Stripes Forever in Movement 2
Closing out today, enjoy The Year 1812, Festival Overture in E♭ major, Op. 49, popularly known as the 1812 Overture by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from Great Britain.
Independence Day fireworks are often accompanied by patriotic songs such as the national anthem “The Star-Spangled Banner”, “God Bless America”, “America the Beautiful”, “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”, “This Land Is Your Land”, “Stars and Stripes Forever”, and, regionally, “Yankee Doodle” in northeastern states and “Dixie” in southern states. Some of the lyrics recall images of the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812.
A bit of audio for your listening pleasure, as played by Vladimir Horowitz…