American heritage songs represent the greatness and richness of American history and culture. Heritage songs reflect the thinking and feeling of an ever-changing society at a particular time and place. Some American heritage songs are centuries old but still evoke feelings of pride, hardship, humor or nostalgia.
As students learn American heritage songs, they will be able to travel down the path of history. American heritage songs help students relive formative experiences from the original participants’ viewpoints. American heritage songs enable students to venture on the sometimes perilous journey of a soldier, patriot, pioneer, cowpoke, or even a fugitive slave. American heritage songs can help students imagine working on a canal boat, building railroads, or digging in a gold mine.
The essence of our country’s independent spirit is found in American heritage songs. Knowing the origin of American heritage songs gives them new and deeper meaning for students. At the same time, singing American heritage songs helps children develop an appreciation for America’s colorful history and the people and events that have shaped it.
The National Association for Music Education, www.menc.org compiled 88 songs that every American should know and be able to sing. This collection called “Get America Singing…Again!” included many American heritage songs. The set was developed to promote community singing via a common repertoire. Most of the American heritage songs in Singlish Volume 3 appear in this collection.