kevin navis - chorale tenor
"God bless america"
When we sang our national anthem and the South Africa national anthem at Orchestra Hall and on tour I had tears every time. I would give the world for the Chorale to perform this piece. I probably wouldn’t be able to sing!! Here's the story about this song, from a friend:
"The time was 1940. America was still in a terrible economic depression. Hitler was taking over Europe and Americans were afraid we'd have to go to war. It was a time of hardship and worry for most Americans.
"This was the era before television when radio shows were HUGE and American families sat around their radios in the evenings, listening to their favorite entertainers and no entertainer of that era was bigger than Kate Smith.
"Kate was also patriotic. It hurt her to see Americans so depressed and afraid of what the next day would bring (sound familiar?). She had hope for America, and faith in her fellow Americans. She wanted to do something to cheer them up, so she went to the famous American song-writer Irving Berlin (who also wrote "White Christmas") and asked him to write a song that would make Americans feel good again about their country. When she described what she was looking for, he said he had just the song for her. He went to his files and dusted off a song that he had written but never published, 22 years before - in 1917. He gave it to her and she worked on it with her studio orchestra. She and Irving Berlin were not sure how the song would be received by the public, but both agreed they would not take any profits from it. Any profits would go to the Boy Scouts of America. Over the years, the Boy Scouts has received millions of dollars in royalties from this song.
"This video starts out with Kate Smith coming into the radio studio with the orchestra and an audience. She introduces the new song for the very first time and starts singing. After the first couple verses, with her voice in the background, scenes are shown from the 1940 movie, “You're In The Army Now.”
"To this day, God Bless America stirs our patriotic feelings and pride in our country. Back in 1940, when Kate Smith went looking for a song to raise the spirits of her fellow Americans, I doubt whether she realized just how successful the results would be during those years of hardship and worry... and for many generations of Americans to follow."