program notes by composition > A > America the Beautiful

America, The Beautiful

Samuel Augustus Ward/arr. Carmen Dragon

America the Beautiful is one of the most beloved and popular of American patriotic songs. From time to time it has been proposed as a replacement for the National Anthem.

Its lyrics were originally published as a poem in 1875 by English professor Katharine Lee Bates who was inspired by the sights of her country during a summer trip to Pikes Peak.

The melody was composed in 1882 by organist Samuel Ward as a tune for the old hymn “Oh Mother Dear Jerusalem”; he received his inspira- tion during a summertime ferry ride from Coney Island.

This arrangement for concert band was made by Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra conductor Carmen Dragon (1914-1984).

Last updated on June 22, 2023 by Palatine Concert Band