As he listened to the San Francisco Girls and Boys Choruses sing before the inauguration of President Obama, Augsburg music instructor Nancy Grundahl’s husband thought he was hearing his wife’s work.
“My husband heard ‘America the Beautiful’ and recognized it,” Grundahl said, “and then my publisher confirmed that it was my arrangement a few hours later.”
Grundahl, director of the Augsburg Riverside Singers, originally wrote the arrangement of “America the Beautiful” on the day after 9/11. “I needed something uplifting for my children’s choir to sing in rehearsal,” she said. The choir sang the arrangement for the rest of that season, and it was published by Alliance in 2003.
Peter Hendrickson, director of choral activities at Augsburg, said, “This is truly amazing. Nancy’s arrangement was probably heard around the world, and over 1,000,000 people heard it on the Washington mall.”
“It’s been fun to have been a tiny part of the amazing inauguration of Barack Obama,” Grundahl said, noting that the publisher has seen an increase in sales since the performance. Grundahl hopes to connect with the conductors of the choirs to hear more about their experience.
Hear the inaugural performance on NPR.org. A Musical Dispatch From The Inauguration