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Be Glad Then America

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William Schuman

William Schuman

This work is the first movement of Schuman's "New England Triptych."

General Info

Year: 1956 / 1975
Duration: 6:25
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Theodore Presser
Cost: Score and Parts - $145.00   |   Oversize Full Score Only - $45.00   |   Full Score Only - $12.50   |   Oversize Full Score of Complete Triptych - $65.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
Alto Saxophone I-II
Tenor Saxophone
Baritone Saxophone
Bass Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III (III optional)
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
String Bass
Percussion (4 players) including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Cymbals
  • Glockenspiel
  • Snare Drum
  • Tubular Bells


Score: Oboe final note should be a top line F. Some of the notes are clearly a G; some are ambiguous.

Program Notes

Be Glad Then, America was freely transcribed for concert band by the composer from the first movement of New England Triptych - Three Pieces for Orchestra after William Billings. When Jesus Wept and Chester, the other two pieces, were also transcribed for band by the composer and are published separately. When programmed to be played as a group, the three pieces should be performed in the following order:

1. Be Glad Then, America
2. When Jesus Wept

William Billings is described by William Bentley, of Salem, a contemporary, as "the father of our New England music. Many who have imitated have excelled him, but none of them had better original power. He was a singular man, of moderate size, short of one leg, with one eye, without any address, and with an uncommon negligence of person. Still he spoke and sang and thought as a man above the common abilities."

Billings, born in Boston in 1746, started his career in life as a tanner's apprentice, but soon gave up this trade for music, in which he was apparently self-taught. He organized singing schools, composing music for them which was all the more welcome because relations with England had reached the breaking point and the colonists were glad to have their own native music. Billings's many "fuguing tunes" achieved great popularity, but by the time he died in 1800 this kind of music gradually fell into disfavor, leaving Billings poor and neglected. Today, given the prospective of history, we see Billings as a major figure in American music. His indomitable spirit still shines through the sturdy tunes he wrote.

- Program note from score

Commercial Discography

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Pershauna Johnson, conductor) - 8 May 2021
  • Whitworth University (Spokane, Wash.) Wind Symphony (Richard Strauch, conductor) - 14 November 2020
  • University of Chicago (Ill.) University Wind Ensemble (Nicholas J. Carlson, conductor) – 23 February 2020
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell Wind Ensemble (Daniel Lutz, conductor) – 5 December 2019
  • Ohio University (Athens) Wind Symphony (William Talley, conductor) – 24 September 2019
  • University of Virginia (Charlottesville) Wind Ensemble (William Pease, conductor) – 28 April 2019
  • Southern Adventist University (Collegedale, Tenn.) Wind Symphony (Ken Parsons, conductor) – 7 April 2019
  • Keene (N.H.) State College Concert Band (Joshua E. Long, conductor) - 1 November 2018
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Orchestra (Mark Scatterday, conductor) – 23 September 2018
  • California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, Wind Orchestra (Christopher J. Woodruff, conductor) – 2 June 2018
  • University of Arizona (Tucson) Wind Ensemble (Chad R. Nicholson, conductor) - 26 April 2018
  • University of Wisconsin-Parkside Wind Ensemble (Laura Rexroth, conductor) – 8 March 2018
  • Harding University (Searcy, Ark.) Wind Ensemble (Mike Chance, conductor) – 22 February 2018
  • Boston University (Mass.) Wind Ensemble (David Martins, conductor) – 16 November 2017
  • University of North Texas (Denton) Wind Ensemble (Nicholas E. Williams, conductor) – 26 September 2017
  • Indiana University (Bloomington) Symphonic Band (Eric M. Smedley, conductors) – 26 September 2017
  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Ensemble (Kevin Holzman, conductor) – 18 September 2017
  • Randolph (Mass.) Community Band (Avi Mehta, conductor ) – 10 June 2017
  • San Jose State University (Calif.) Wind Ensemble (Edward C. Harris, conductor) – 5 May 2017
  • University of Texas (Austin) Wind Symphony (Scott Hanna, conductor) – 5 April 2017

Works for Winds by this Composer


  • Magie, Gregory Alden. (1966) “Conducting William Schuman’s New England Triptych.” D.M.A. dissertation. Los Angeles: University of California.
  • Pearlmutter, Alan, and Jacques Voois. (1987, Spring-Summer). “William Schuman’s ‘New England Triptych’ and the music of William Billings.” Journal of the Conductor’s Guild 8(2 & 3), 48-57.
  • William Schuman website