“America the Beautiful” is, of course, a famous U.S. patriotic song that some even suggest should replace “The Star-Spangled Banner” as our National Anthem.
Joe Liles, a very famous man in Barbershop circles, has arranged an “overlay” for it. For those of you in the LDS faith, think of a typical Janice Kapp Perry duet from Primary such as “Love is Spoken Here” or “A Child’s Prayer,” in which one part is sung by a girl or girls (in the former case) or a child or children (latter case), then the second part is sung separately by a boy or boys, or a parent or other adult or adults representing parents (respectively), and finally the two are combined.
The Overlay is like the second part (the part sung by boys in “Love is Spoken Here” or the parent in “A Child’s Prayer”]), with the classic melody and lyrics of the first verse of “America the Beautiful” being sung first by either a female soloist or trio or quartet or ensemble, or by the congregation. The male quartet or ensemble then sings the Overlay by itself, and finally the two are sung together, with a dramatic finishing “Tag.”
I personally learned this years ago on a Saturday in Hot Springs when Joe Liles himself taught it and five or six other songs to us as part of a “Fun Fest.” We then performed all of the songs that very evening at a public concert!
Years later, and just a few years ago, I saw it performed at a Society International Convention (which I was watching via Webcast), during which an impromptu chorus of U.S. soldiers sang “America the Beautiful” in one of Saddam Hussein’s palaces which was shown live in the auditorium via satellite TV, then a major Barbershop Chorus (I forget which one) sang the Overlay, then the two groups sang the two songs together, combined, simultaneously, despite being ½ a planet apart from each other! Talk about awe-inspiring patriotic feelings!
(If you know which Chorus it was, feel free to post a comment here or Email me. If you know of any legitimately available recordings of that performance, I’d love to know that, too!)
Joe makes this arrangement available free for printing (but not for paid or ticketed performance nor recordings-for-sale) as part of the Barbershop Harmony Society’s “Free & Easy” collection (http://barbershop.org/document-center/category/19-free-music-for-printing.html). Download the .PDF of the sheet music from there.
This version has no performance changes by me except for a minor rhythm change in Measure 8, but is simply formatted for use in the various music software programs by Myriad Bros. As usual, I did apply Barbershop-style Adaptive Just Intonation microtuning (thus the weird accidental-like symbols on most notes), and separated out the parts each on its own staff (that makes it easier to work with for me, and I suspect easier to read and learn for performers).