I would hope that you wouldn’t expect me to blog about anything else on July 4th! How grateful I am for this great country and the privilege it is to live here! And how grateful I am to have been a part of Sounds of Freedom.
Have you ever had that lump in your throat feeling about our country? I’m sure all of you have had some kind of experience that brings a lump to your throat….. but have you had it over this great country and the freedom’s it allows? I have. I know I had experiences as a small child learning about patriotism, but I don’t recall them giving me that lump in the throat. Perhaps I was too young to truly understand. I believe I was in college before I really learned to appreciate my country. Not that I hadn’t before that….. but I was exposed to a lot of patriotic music in college.
I was a member of BYU Sounds of Freedom, a performing group at BYU that did patriotic music as well as other types of music. The group eventually blended in with Young Ambassadors. When Sounds of Freedom went on their first international tour, they dropped ‘of Freedom’ as part of the name and traveled as SOUNDS. Dropping that part of the name meant that they also dropped the patriotic music. In order not to offend other countries, they felt it was best to not include music about the love for our country. Soon after, they dropped the SOUNDS name altogether and went by Young Ambassadors. For a time there were two Young Ambassador groups…. but then they merged into one to become the current BYU Young Ambassadors.
My experience in Sounds of Freedom really set in a love for my country in my heart. I learned the words to the Preamble of the Declaration of Independence through music….. I sung one of the most beautiful arrangements of ‘America the Beautiful’ I’ve ever heard, plus several other songs that were patriotic. It was always so fun to see how many of these songs would bring a lump to the throat of the audience members that came to our shows. We had an enormous American flag hanging behind us on stage and wore Red White and Blue costumes as we sung America the Beautiful. I know…. it was the 70’s…. but it was truly American!
In 1976, we had the opportunity to travel back east to help celebrate the Bicentennial Birthday of America. Our show was very patriotic. It was a tribute to America and several of the styles of music that contributed to making America who we are. We traveled all through the eastern half of the country and got to see so many famous landmarks. It’s a pity that cameras weren’t more like they are now! I could have had some awesome pictures to share!! Unfortunately all I have are dimming memories! Thank heavens we were lucky enough for BYU Television studios to record a good portion of that Bicentennial show. I lucked into getting a copy of it too! They used to show it on BYU- TV around the 4th of July for MANY years! My son recently helped me upload it all to Youtube.
Here’s one or two that are particularly appropriate for the day.
I am so grateful for this great country! I’m grateful for our Founding Fathers and to all those who have served and continue serve to make this land a free land and to keep it that way. Though there are many things that need to be fixed in our current government….. this is still a great country! I’m grateful to be able to worship as I please….. for that was a big reason this country was founded. Religious freedom. I’m grateful for the opportunity to have been a part of BYU Sounds of Freedom….. not only did I make life long friends there…. it instilled patriotism in my heart and gratitude for my country! Happy Birthday, America!
I am Grateful! How are you?