America Belongs to Us – SATB choir and Flute Orchestra – Choral Score


A work for SATB choir and Flute Orchestra.  Great for community or college ensembles.  Celebrates the diversity of the Latino culture in the United States.

Choral Score

Duration approximately 9:30

Piccolo 1, 2 (one per part)
4 Flutes in C
2 Alto Flutes
2 Bass Flutes
1 Contrabass Flute

SATB Choir (Soprano 1, Alto 1, Tenor 1, Bass 1)
Duration approximately 8:30

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SATB Choir
Piccolo 1, 2
Flute 1,2, 3,4
Alto Flute 1, 2
Bass Flute 1, 2
Contrabass Flute
Contr’alto Flute in G (optional)
Sub-contrabass flute (optional)

America Belongs to Us explores the idea of the immigrant – coming from another country and growing roots in America, the land of opportunity for all.  Leaving behind all that they know, they move to an unfamiliar country, often leaving family, friends behind, to hopefully make a better life for themselves and for the generations to come.

This work was commissioned by Holland Chorale, Ars Voce, and the West Michigan Flute Orchestra to celebrate the diverse Latino culture in West Michigan and within their performing communities.  Through the unique colors of the flute orchestra and choir I wanted to tell this story of an immigrant bringing their culture and heritage to America, and in using two choirs I was able to show the voice of the immigrant becoming part of the fabric of this country. I commissioned Oliver Mayer, a Mexican-American playwright and a professor of Dramatic Playwriting at the University of Southern California to craft a text to tell of the Latino spirit in not only West Michigan, but across the United States.   At times the (optional) smaller choir sings in Spanish – representing the voice of the immigrant, and in a style of call and response, the larger choir answers in English.  Toward the end of the work the lines “Do not forget our history, do not forget our mystery” in English are now sung by the (optional) small choir, while the large choir takes on singing the Spanish version of this line.  This signifies that we become a community of many backgrounds and ethnicities, but that together we are all Americans.

This work was a joint commission by the Holland Chorale under the direction of Meredith Bowen, Ars Voce under the direction of Mark Wells, and the West Michigan Flute Orchestra under the direction of Julie Sooey.  It was premiered by these ensembles on October 16, 2015 in Battle Creek, Michigan, and subsequent performances on Saturday October 17 in Holland, Michigan, and on Sunday, October 18 in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

America Belongs to Us – poetry by Oliver Mayer

America belongs to us
Every day we make it ours

Sweat and skin (Sudor y piel)
The tax we pay
Midnight tears (Lágrimas)
The mortgage due

We form a human bridge (un puente humano) across
The scar that separates us (a traves de la cicatriz)

Each time (Cada vez) we cross the Wall
Comes down (un poco más) a little more
Each year (Cada año) our roots extend
A little more on either side (un poco más)

Wherever we were born (Donde nacimos)
Wherever we have been (Donde vivimos)

Leaving love behind
We find new love
Leaving roots behind
We grow new shoots

Our family tree grows down
And up (arriba y abajo), un-bordered, free

Until, no longer foreigners,
We call home here
No longer immigrants
We make this ours

Do not forget our history (no debemos olvidar nuestra historia)
Do not forget our mystery (no debemos olvidar nuestro misterio)

America is more than walls
America is more than scars
America’s a living thing
America belongs to all of us