The Promise of Liberty

An adaptation of The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus

for two-part or unison chorus with optional descant
and optional piano or guitar accompaniment

Also available for SATB with optional piano accompaniment

Duration: 3 minutes

The Promise of Liberty The Van Wyck Jr High 6th Grade Chorus: The Promise of Liberty

Download Perusal PDF: 2-part/Unison or SATB

Text · Performance History · Purchase Sheet Music

The Promise of Liberty provides many performance options, as well as many teachable moments. From learning to recognize an AB form, following 1st and 2nd endings, repeat signs, duple rhythms, descant and other young choral vocabulary words, your kids will learn to read a choral score and learn about compositional form, not to mention the history of the Statue of Liberty. Add the variations to the chorus and other performance options, and you have a great new patriotic number for audiences to enjoy. — Jenny Price, former Washington State ACDA Repertoire & Standard Chair, Children's Choirs

The Promise of Liberty is an adaptation of the sonnet The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus (1883). The sonnet was written to raise money for the construction of the Statue of Liberty's pedestal and has graced the entrance to the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor since 1945. The chorus for this work is adapted from the Lazarus poem, while the verses are new text written by the composer.

The Promise of Liberty is designed for flexibility:

  • May be sung a cappella or with piano or guitar accompaniment.
  • All verses are unison.
  • The chorus may be sung in unison or 2-part harmony.
  • The final chorus has an optional descant.
  • The conductor may invite the audience to join in the final chorus.

The Promise of Liberty

Winds blow fierce and foul storms rage.
Safe shelter seems a hopeless dream.
But in the dark a promise beams,
a beacon to a golden age.

[Chorus] "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
Give me the wretched from your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

So cries the strong heroic woman,
raising her arm to light the way.
Her words ring out from day to day
to greet each wave of immigrants. [Repeat chorus]

Some crossed the sea in a tempest squall.
More came by land up the hemisphere.
Still there's room for everyone here.
The promise of liberty welcomes all. [Repeat chorus]

Winds still blow and storms still threaten
the shelter we build in this new land.
But here we weave a fabric grand
Made strong from many colored threads. [Repeat chorus]

Purchase Sheet Music

Indicate the number of copies you want to print yourself as the "quantity" in your Shopping Cart. Choose either Unison/2-part or SATB.

An mp3 of the piano accompaniment is available on request.

The Promise of Liberty

Performance History

Premiere (unison) June 9, 2011, Jackson Elementary School Choir, Abigail Ramstad conducting, Everett, Washington

Premiere (2-part) May 1, 2012, Van Wyck Jr High School 6th Grade Chorus, Andrea Buergers conducting, Wappingers Falls, NY

May 8, 2012, Red Apple Elementary School Choir, Jack Senzig conducting, Park High School Area Choir Festival, Racine, Wisconsin

May 15, 2012, Red Apple Elementary School Choir, Jack Senzig conducting, Red Apple Elementary School, Racine, Wisconsin

Premiere (SATB) April 2, 2013, Case High School Area Choir Festival Chorus, Elizabeth Steege conducting, Racine, Wisconsin

April 4, 2013, Case High School Area Choir Festival Chorus, Elizabeth Steege conducting, Racine, Wisconsin

May 2, 2013, Horlick High School Area Choir Festival Chorus, Ellen Christensen conducting, Racine, Wisconsin