Flanders Fields

This musical setting of the famous Canadian poem by Lt. Colonel John McCrae was one of my earliest choral settings. I arranged it for choir students while still on my teaching practicum, and rearranged it later for my own choirs to sing. McCrae wrote his famous poem on May 3, 1915. He had been a doctor on the front lines for a number of years, but was inspired to write Flanders Fields after witnessing the incredible suffering at the Battle of Ypres and the death of his close friend in battle. Legend has it that McCrae was dissatisfied with his poem and tossed it away, but a fellow officer rescued the manuscript and sent it to British newspapers. It was later published in “Punch” magazine. Whatever the actual circumstances, McCrae certainly crafted a poem for the ages. You can see “Flanders Fields” in the Memorial Chamber of the Peace Tower in Ottawa, where are also inscribed the names of all of Canada’s fallen soldiers.