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  • Writer's pictureKaren Pauley

Working on The Flagmaker, 1775

I'm finding it hard to connect with some of the lyrics in "The Flagmaker, 1775". The song is part of Jason Robert Brown's musical theatre song cycle Songs for a New World. The song is sung by "Woman 2", a mezzo-soprano using a belting vocal technique. Woman 2 portrays a number of different characters throughout the song cycle. In "The Flagmaker, 1775," she is the mother of an American Revolutionary soldier desperately waiting for the end of the war. She sits at home alone praying for her son as she sews a flag. The desperation and the fear make sense to me; the needing to do something while you wait also makes sense. But there are a lot of lines about the flag and I don't really connect to flags.

One more star, one more stripe To escape your lonely bed One more star, one more stripe Join the blue, the white and red

I struggle with the concept of sewing a flag when there are so many other things that could be sewn. Coming from Northern Ireland I'm also not that keen on flags as we had so much conflict over them.

My assumption is that the flag is a symbol of freedom and that it was more important to sew than clothing. I will need to find out more about the American Revolution to see if people did sew flags to help with morale and to find out if women did this as part of the war effort. Of course, even thinking that is the case could help me with the interpretation of the song.

Flag, © Andy Armstrong

Image "Flag" © Andy Armstrong -- CC BY-SA 2.0

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