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POW Hymn

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J. Quincy Collins

Quincy Collins (arr. Douglas A. Richard; orch. Noah Taylor) (1971/)

General Info

Year: 1971 /
Duration: c. 2:30
Difficulty: II+ (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Manuscript
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Piano (Rehearsal)
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Chimes
  • Crash Cymbals


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Before flying Air Force fighter bombers in the Vietnam War, Quincy Collins was a music major at University of North Carolina and drum major in its marching band. While we were together there in Camp Unity, a POW camp in Hanoi, North Vietnam, he nabbed four of us to be his piano -- lead (melody), tenor, baritone and bass -- whereupon he composed the official P.O.W. Hymn. He wrote the music on crude toilet paper with a bamboo stylus using ink made with Kool-Aid [other sources say he used a fish bone as a pen, with ink from red diarrhea pills], and had us sing the parts in harmony, listen and tweak it, and tweak a little more until it was right. We had to sing it all very softly so it couldn’t be heard outside the cell block, and so it wouldn’t disturb our cellmates -- or alert the guards. Then he gradually added the words to each verse and had us sing them as well -- like doing a line drawing, then adding the color between the lines.

- Program Note adapted by Jerry Coffee

POW Hymn

Oh God, to thee we raise this prayer and sing From within these foreign prison walls.
We’re men who wear the Gold and Silver wings
And proudly heed our nation’s call.
Give us strength to withstand all the harm that the hand of our enemy captors can do
To inflict pain and strife and deprive every life of the rights they know well we are due
We pledge unswerving faith and loyalty
to our cause, America, and Thee … and Thee … and THEE … Amen!

- J. Quincy Collins


(Needed - please join the WRP if you can help.)

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer

  • P.O.W. Hymn (arr. Douglas A. Richard; orch. Noah D. Taylor) (1971/)