If you are looking for some new, patriotic music for your Independence Day gathering, it's here.
On July 1, the Millennial Choirs and Orchestras (MCO) released, "To Be American, A Musical Tribute To God & Country." The project, a combination of classics and new music, has fans of orchestral, choir, and patriotic music buzzing.
The entire project came about after a chance meeting two years ago between Glenn Beck and Brandon and Brett Stewart, the brothers at the center of the all-volunteer group of musicians and singers.
After seeing an MCO performance, Beck invited the brothers to Sunday dinner with his family.
In typical Beck fashion, about halfway through the meal, he asked the brothers to "write the soundtrack for America."
According to Beck, "They politely listened as I explained that many of the songs from our history -- including the national anthem -- were lacking."
While the brothers reportedly agreed with much of what Beck was saying, initially, they didn't want to do it. Beck told TheBlaze, "Brett said that the lyrics always stink when someone tries something new about America."
However, he reported that Brett Stewart jokingly said, "If we can get Glenn Beck to help tell the story, we'll write it. "
The conversations between Beck and the Stewarts continued. Over the course of the year, Beck and the brothers talked about the project and also about writing a new anthem -- one worthy of the American flag.
As Glenn tells it, the brothers met the challenge and created a soul stirring version that was performed in a series of eight sold-out concerts in Arizona, California, Utah and Texas this past spring.
Beck narrated portions of several songs, telling stories in conjunction with the orchestras and choirs.
While there is no Beck narration on the album, the fourteen tracks are a rich and uplifting mixture of classic patriotic songs like, "God Bless America," "Battle Hymn of the Republic," and the "Star Spangled Banner" alongside some of the new works from the Stewarts.
Brett Stewart's title track, "To Be American" showcases the best skills of the orchestra and the choir in a rousing ode to the nation.
America, America, a land of liberty, a land of opportunity.
America, America, a land where freedom rings,
A land where children sing of blessings that it brings to be American.
There is also a powerful, soaring, almost 20-minute version of Gershwin's "Rhapsody In Blue" which includes a choir -- something this author had not heard before.
When reviewing the finished project, Beck called it "majestic!"
Watch a 2:44 montage of the album's music here.
Download individual songs or the entire album from iTunes.
Learn more about the Millennial Choirs and Orchestras here.
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