For the first time ever, the USMA Cadet Glee Club of West Point has been filmed and recorded in the magnificent 100 year-old Cadet Chapel performing 16 specially selected songs hailing the cherished values of America. Stand Ye Steady Songs of Courage and Inspiration , standyesteady.com, was conceived and created by Curtain Call Productions to show support for all the Men and Women who have served and are now serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Set against the richly paneled Chapel altar and 80 Cadets splendidly arrayed in parade dress uniforms, the performance is highlighted with archival photographs and film footage of our Soldiers from WWII through the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Stirring excerpts from the speeches of Generals Eisenhower and MacArthur introduce 4 of the songs.
Joining the Glee Club are two special guests - recording artist Daniel Rodriguez of NYPD fame, gives a rousing performance of his hit Into The Fire and Lea Salonga, Tony Award winner for Miss Saigon and the voice of Jasmine in Aladdin , gives a powerfully moving performance of the Christian music classic Via Dolorosa . Four of the songs, This Christmastide, Jerusalem, Lest We Forget , and On Lone Great Hills feature the Chapel s mammoth organ the largest church organ in the world! With arrangements by world-renowned Don Fraser and mixed by Gold Record Producer John McCracken (Michael Crawford s On Eagle s Wings ) and 7 time Grammy Winner Richard King at Sony Music Studios in New York City, this 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound performance offers the viewer an intimate, powerful and inspiring experience.
Stand Ye Steady Songs of Courage and Inspiration has been broadcast on PBS, TBN, Daystar TV and the Armed Forces Netwok.
A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this DVD supports organizations assisting those soldiers wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan and their families.
THRILLING, BLOOD-STIRRING, AWE-INSPIRING
Written by R.J. Carter, The Trades
A number of adjectives instantly spring to mind when one hears the United States Military Academy Cadet Glee Club perform, none of which truly translates into words the palpable and powerful emotions wrung from the listeners: Thrilling. Blood-stirring. Awe-inspiring. These don't do justice to the work of the Cadets.
These rousing patriotic anthems and hymns of affirmation speak directly to the spirit. Recorded in the century-old Cadet Chapel, our nation's soldiers perform traditional standards as well as some newly-penned songs inspired by the state of world events. Doug Coppi, who wrote the lyrics to the album's leadoff song, Men of Freedom , comments in the liner notes, I penned these lyrics to the defiant Welsh tune, 'Men of Harlech' during that awful week following the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks of September 11th . It's an a capella piece that completely fills the room your listening in; you really feel like you're standing in the midst of the Cadets as they sing, starting with one, then a few, and finally growing into an innumerable throng of voices in unison:
Don't they know we'll stand fast Next to those who have passed All who fought for freedom sought By those oppressed and downcast Men of Freedom clutch it dearly Freedom's bell rings ever clearly Homes and loved ones all before ye Free Men will not yield!
There are a good number of a capella or nearly a capella pieces on here, but there are also many songs accompanied by martial snares, and four songs ( This Christmastide, Jerusalem, Lest We Forget, and On Great Lone Hills ) that are driven by the great chapel organ -- the largest church organ in the world, according to the liner notes.
The Cadets also welcome a pair of guest singers onto the album. NYPD's Daniel Rodriguez delivers a charging aria with Into the Fire , a song of exhortation and a celebration of bravery. Lyrics alone don't do justice to Rodriguez's stirring interpretation:
nto valleys, into waters Into jungles, into hell Let us ride, let us ride home again With a story to tell Into darkness, into danger Into storms that rip the night Don't give in, don't give up But give thanks for the glorious fight
Tony award winner Lea Salonga ( Miss Saigon ) also guests on this album, singing Via Dolorosa with a moving passion that brings tears to the eyes; and when she performs the second verse in Spanish, the emotion evoked becomes completely overwhelming.
I would be completely remiss in my review if I were not to mention the absolutely amazing performance the Cadets put in on this album of The Star-Spangled Banner . A last minute addition to the album, this song is one the Cadets have performed numerous times at sporting events -- so much so that no retakes were required in recording this one. This is the National Anthem played the way it should be.
Stand Ye Steady is a necessary component for the music library of military families and patriots of all political stripes. Truly inspiring. --The Trades
POWERFUL AND AWE INSPIRING
Written by Kim Jones, Christian Music Guide, About.com
Maybe it's because my oldest son is in the U.S. Navy's basic training program. Maybe it's because I'm more patriotic than I thought. Either way, even though glee club style music is not normally my cup of tea, I was touched deeply by this release.
Powerful and awe-inspiring are two words that come to mind when I think of this release. The opening track, "Men of Freedom" is one that spoke deeply to my heart as the grand-daughter of a WWII and Korean War vet, the daughter of a Vietnam war vet and a military mom. Into The Fire , featuring tenor Daniel Rodriguez is another soul-stirrer, as is Lest We Forget , which is one of four songs that features the Cadet Chapel's organ, the largest church organ in the world. Special guest Lea Salonga ( Miss Saigon ) brings Via Dolorosa to a fuller life than I can adequately put words to. I don't speak Spanish, and the second verse is done in Spanish, but I didn't need to understand the words to be nearly overwhelmed by the feelings the song invoked.
The Star Spangled Banner and My Country 'Tis Of Thee are so well done that they bring patriotic feelings to the surface and then cause them to overflow.
One other thing that makes this project wonderful is that some of the proceeds from sales will be donated by Curtain Call Productions to charitable organizations assisting wounded U.S. troops and their families. The initial charity recipient is the Yellow Ribbon Fund in Washington, DC. The Yellow Ribbon Fund places money directly in the hands of families visiting their wounded and disabled family members, many of whom are amputees in area hospitals. --About.com
A SALUTE OF INSPIRATION
Written by Cindy O'Halloran, TrueTunes
STAND YE STEADY - Songs of Courage and Inspiration by USMA Glee Club Curtain Call Productions
The West Point Glee Club enchants us with songs of courage and inspiration. The dedication of these brave soldiers now reaches our ears through their remarkable blend of voices.
The song The Longest Day is a catchy march that gets your toe tapping. The performance is a spectacular display of the vocal ability of each section. The enthralling rendition of Via Delorosa reminds us of the love Christ showed. The love it took for Jesus to walk the road to Calvary vibrates from this powerful song. The hymn Rise up Oh Men of God speaks of being a soldier of the King of Kings and making the church great paralleling the commitment it takes to serve as a soldier in America.
The song Take Me Home/I Am a Soldier is an awesome demonstration of patriotism. I do not choose the time or place, convenience is not in my vocabulary. I stand at the ready, and when my orders come, I go...I AM A SOLDIER . The pledge is set over deep music that causes your ear to tune into the promise being spoken. My heart was deeply touched at the realization of their commitment, a commitment that is a gift to us all.
Real American soldiers singing from their hearts is what this CD is all about. --TrueTunes