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Draper Journal

Draper Philharmonic & Choral Society presents ‘Stand Beside Her,’ an evening of patriotic music

May 21, 2024 03:14PM ● By Katherine Weinstein

Draper Philharmonic & Choral Society will present “Stand Beside Her,” a program of patriotic favorites followed by their original choral production, “George Washington: Ordained of God” June 7 and 8 at Corner Canyon High School. (Photo courtesy of Sherri Jensen/Draper Philharmonic & Choral Society)

Draper Philharmonic & Choral Society gets into the patriotic spirit with their latest concert, "Stand Beside Her.” The program title, taken from a line in the song “God Bless America,” captures the themes of faith and love of country. The production includes a variety of songs which celebrate the American spirit followed by a performance of "George Washington: Ordained of God," an original choral piece by Draper composers Tyler Teerlink and Jake Lives.

Teerlink and Lives also composed “King of Kings,” a choral work that has become a Christmas tradition for Draper Philharmonic & Choral Society. Founder and director Sherri Jensen, explained that she hopes “George Washington: Ordained of God” will become part of a series. “My dream is really to create a five piece set on American liberty,” Jensen said. “I hope to do one on the Pilgrims.”

The over-arching theme of “George Washington: Ordained of God,” is that the events that lead to the founding of the United States, specifically the life and achievements of George Washington, were guided by a divine hand. “I feel like right now we need to be introspective,” Jensen said. “I want families to come and learn about the history, to appreciate what it took to bring us to this point and look at where we’ve come from.”

Daria Ruesch, who plays second violin in the Philharmonic, described “George Washington: Ordained of God” as “almost like a musical rather than a concert. The soloists are in costume and acting out the story. It’s really unique and incredibly well-done.”

"George Washington: Ordained of God" will be preceded by a performance of patriotic and inspirational songs. "The first half of our concert gives tribute to our armed forces," Jensen said. "We are giving free tickets to any vet or active military. We really appreciate their dedicated service."

David Topham, first tenor in the Choral Society, said, "Seeing men and women who have served our nation stand up to be honored is a wonderful thing to be a part of."

"This is our way to say thank you to the troops," Ruesch said. "Music has a special way of resonating with people."

"Ragged Old Flag" by Johnny Cash, "The Star Spangled Banner," "Some Gave All," "Country Roads," and "Amazing Grace" are just a few of the songs on the program. “Country Roads” was included, Jensen said, because "everyone knows that feeling of going home. Something in that song just fills you up."

Both Ruesch and Topham spoke of what a moving and meaningful experience it is to perform this particular rendition of "Amazing Grace." Draper Philharmonic clarinetist Emily Higgenbotham created an original arrangement of the popular hymn for this concert with bagpipes which she also plays. "We were all brought to tears when we heard it," Ruesch said. "It's magnificent, the spirit that you feel. It strikes a chord in everyone."

Topham feels that this concert will bring people together during this moment in history when people are so politically divided. He described the music as, "uniquely American music. People singing of hope and their faith in God." He added, "I hope everyone I know is at this concert because it's wonderful. It's a thrill to have that feeling."

Draper Philharmonic & Choral Society presents, "Stand Beside Her," an evening of patriotic songs followed by "George Washington: Ordained of God" at 7 p.m. on June 7 and 8 at Corner Canyon High School, 12943 S. 700 East. For tickets and more information visitλ