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You're a Grand Old Flag

Music and Lyrics by: George M. Cohan
Arranged By: Ian E. Charleton
Broadway March with Featured Vocalist.  $30

George M. Cohan said that his inspiration for this classic came from an encounter he had with a Civil War veteran who fought at Gettysburg.   Cohan noticed the vet held a carefully folded but ragged old flag. The man reportedly then turned to Cohan and said, "She's a grand old rag." Cohan later, renamed the song "You're a Grand Old Flag.


This arrangement pays tribute to this story and they lyrics of Cohan’s song by incorporating melodies of several other patriotic American songs.  The arrangement begins with a nod Eugene Bagley’s perennial march “National Emblem.”  This march, used by all branches of the US military to process the flag in ceremonies references Cohan’s lyric “You’re the emblem of / The land I love.”  Next is a song contemporary to the Civil War itself “The Battle Cry of Freedom” by George F. Root with its lyric “Yes, we’ll rally ‘round the flag.”  And finally, another song contemporary to the Civil War, “Columbia, the Gem of The Ocean.”  These tunes are adapted and used as underpinning to support the lyric of Cohan’s classic.


Ian Charleton,
Jul 5, 2012, 7:05 PM