Honestly, I try not to talk politics on my blog (I have Facebook for that), but if you read between the lines, you know what I believe.
Yesterday was something.
And I really don’t know what to say about it.
So I’m going to share my favorite patriotic song, American Anthem by Gene Scheer. This piece was composed for mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves to sing with the Marine Band back in 1998 at the Smithsonian Institute for President Bill Clinton. She sang it at the 9/11 memorial ceremony at the National Cathedral and, most recently, at the funeral of Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
Denyce is on the faculty at Peabody Conservatory and she and I were in Rigoletto together at Washington Opera back in 1991. She was making her debut there as Maddalena, and I was doing my first comprimario role as Countess Ceprano. I subsequently sang in the chorus when she sang the title roles of Carmen and Samson et Dalila (hint: she wasn’t Samson).
This is not the first time I’m sharing this. I actually wrote about this back on the 4th of July, 2020. When I shared it then, along with a recording by Nathan Gunn, I was feeling positive and patriotic. Today I’m trying to find that again, and hopefully, we all will, very soon.
So here is a recording of Denyce Graves singing this in 2016 at the Phillips Collection in Washington, DC. Laura Ward is at the piano. If you want to read the text, it’s in the 7/4 post as well. But there’s one line that resonates with me today:
What shall be our legacy? What will our children say?