Presidents Day Special (February 14, 2016) - #4509 Music and the Spoken Word

Music and the Spoken Word broadcast with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Orchestra at Temple Square. February 14, 2016 Broadcast Number 4509.


“This Is My Country” 
Composer: Al Jacobs
Lyrics: Don Raye
Arrangement: Michael Davis

“This Is a Great Country” 
Composer: Irving Berlin
Lyrics: Irving Berlin
Arrangement: Michael Davis

“Prelude on ‘My Country, ’Tis of Thee’” (organ solo) 
Composer: Clay Christiansen

“El Capitan” 
Composer: John Philip Sousa
Arrangement: Cathy Moklebust
Featuring Bells on Temple Square

“The House I Live In”1 
Composer: Earl Robinson
Lyrics: Lewis Allan
Arrangement: Michael Davis

“Cohan’s Big Three”1 
Composer: George M. Cohan
Lyrics: George M. Cohan
Arrangement: Floyd E. Werle

“Battle Hymn of the Republic”1, 2 
Composer: William Steffe
Lyrics: Julia Ward Howe
Arrangement: Peter J. Wihousky

  1. On the album Spirit of America and in the CD set Encore Collection.
  2. On the album America’s Choir and in the CD set Anniversary Collection.

Spoken Word

“A More Perfect Union”

On June 17, 1775, Abigail Adams and her seven-year-old son, John Quincy, stood on a hill near their home and watched, terrified, as the Battle of Bunker Hill unfolded. It was a pivotal moment in the American Revolution. More than a thousand were killed or wounded, and nearby Charlestown was burned to the ground.

The next day, Abigail described her feelings in a letter to her husband, John, who was in Philadelphia serving as a member of the Continental Congress. She wrote: “The decisive day has come on which the fate of America depends. My bursting heart must find vent at my pen. … May we be supported and sustained in the dreadful conflict.” 1

Abigail Adams was right. It was a decisive day, and the fate of America did hang in the balance. The colonists lost that battle, but their courageous stand against the mighty British army brought hope to the revolution’s cause.

As it turned out, there were many more decisive days in Abigail’s lifetime. Her husband, John Adams, became the nation’s first vice president and its second president. Her son John Quincy grew up to become its sixth president. And through it all, Abigail was an indispensable source of strength and support to them both.

We may never know the ultimate impact Abigail Adams had on the course of our nation, but we do know this: not every decisive moment in history happens in congresses or on battlefields. Some of them happen in private moments, when the “bursting heart” of a devoted patriot finds expression in an act of service or a courageous sacrifice for the cause of freedom.

John, Abigail, and John Quincy Adams and their successors built a nation for us, but the work of nation building is never done. We each play a part—whoever and wherever we are. Through our support, loyalty, and courage, we all help build a more perfect union, a home where liberty can dwell.

  1. Abigail Adams to John Adams, June 18–20, 1775 (electronic edition), Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive,Massachusetts Historical Society,; typography modernized.