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America the Beautiful Program Notes and Sheet Music

The poem was written by Katharine Lee Bates, a professor of English literature at Wellesley College. In 1893, she was on a lecture trip to Colorado and took a trip to the top of Pikes Peak. As she looked out over the vast landscape, she was inspired to write a poem about the beauty of the country.

The poem was first published in 1895 in the Congregationalist magazine. It was titled "America" and it quickly became popular. In 1910, a hymn tune composed by Samuel A. Ward was paired with the poem and the song "America the Beautiful" was born.

The song was not immediately accepted as a national anthem. In fact, it was not even considered a patriotic song at first. It was seen more as a hymn or a poem. However, over time, the song's popularity grew and it eventually became one of the most beloved songs in the United States.

One of the little known stories about the song is that it was almost not written. Bates had been struggling with writer's block for some time and she was not sure if she could write anything that would be good enough. However, she decided to go on the trip to Pikes Peak anyway, hoping that the fresh air and the views would inspire her.

As it turned out, the trip was exactly what she needed. She was so inspired by the beauty of the country that she wrote the poem in just a few hours. The poem was a huge success and it helped to launch Bates' career as a poet.

"America the Beautiful" is a beautiful and inspiring song that celebrates the beauty of the United States. It is a song that has been enjoyed by generations of Americans and it is sure to continue to be popular for many years to come.

Here are some other little known facts about the song:

  • The song was originally titled "O Beautiful for Spacious Skies."
  • The first known melody written for the song was sent in by Silas Pratt when the poem was published in The Congregationalist.
  • By 1900, at least 75 different melodies had been written.
  • A hymn tune composed in 1882 by Samuel A. Ward, the organist and choir director at Grace Church, Newark, was generally considered the best music as early as 1910 and is still the popular tune today.
  • Ward's music combined with Bates's poem were first published together in 1910 and titled "America the Beautiful."
  • Ward died in 1903, not knowing the national stature his music would attain.
  • Bates was more fortunate, since the song's popularity was well established by the time of her death in 1929.
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