Iowa Choral Directors Association
R&S – High School Choirs

Octavo of the Month (October 2004)
Mike Walag, Iowa High School R&S Chair

Who are the Brave

Joseph M. Martin; words by J. Paul Williams
Warner Bros., Studio 224, CPP/Belwin (SV9217)

SATB/accompanied

Duration: 3:45
Medium Difficulty

Even though this piece has been around since 1992, its message is even more poignant today. Written by prolific lyricist, J. Paul Williams, the lyrics provide a three-fold answer to the title question, “Who are the Brave?”—1) those who serve in war, 2) those who serve the poor, 3) those who serve mankind.

Originally published as TTBB, this piece was done at the Luther College Dorian festival a few years ago.  It is also one of two songs that former President Bush requests by name, and was used at the dedication of the Bush Library as well as at the 50th Anniversary of D-Day, on the beaches of Normandy.

Set to music by Joseph Martin, this piece is a great example of the perfect wedding of text and music.  It is not especially difficult, but it is very well crafted to produce a highly expressive and intense musical experience for singers and audience alike. 

If you are not familiar with this piece, I highly recommend that you give it a try. It would be perfect for Veteran’s Day, any patriotic celebration, or to honor a person whose life has mirrored the message of this text.