Homeland by Z. Randall Stroope

“Homeland” by Z. Randall Stroope, sung at Tanque Verde Lutheran Church, April 29, 2022.
ARS Music Director: Ryan Phillips Pianist: Woan Ching Lim

Gustav Holst’s “Jupiter” melody from The Planets serves as Stroope’s main theme for his nationalistic triumph, Homeland. At the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981, a hymn arrangement of this song was sung for the joyous occasion, and was performed once again at her funeral, at the request of her sons. Stroope looked to Sir Cecil Spring-Rice’s poetry in Holst’s 1921 patriotic hymn I Vow to Thee, My Country for inspiration as he utilized its first verse while newly composing two subsequent verses for Homeland. These additional verses devote admiration to his father who walked the Bataan Death March in World War II; a forced 65-mile march for 60,000 to 80,000 American and Filipino prisoners by the Imperial Japanese Army in 1942. With the help of Holst’s lush and emotionally charged melody, this heartfelt piece captivates the listener and elicits an abundance of national pride.