Sheet music

USA PENNSYLVANIA : Pennsylvania State Song
State Song of Pennsylvania

  • Author: Edward Khoury (1916-2001)
  • Composer: Aaron Bonawitz (1921-1991), [pseudonym Ronnie Bonner]
  • Adopted: November 29 1990
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  • Further details: The writing of the song 'Pennsylvania' in 1967 was motivated by the fact that the state was one of a few that had not adopted an 'official' song. An additional incentive was the urging by a Philadelphia newspaper columnist to adopt such a song to celebrate the up-coming Bi-Centennial Year - 1976. To achieve such a lofty objective, a song in the anthem vein seemed most appropriate. Having completed the lyrics EDWARD KHOURY (1916-2001) gave them to his long-time co-writer, AARON BONAWITZ (1921-1991), to compose the music. A sheet music edition of the completed work was published in 1967. In 1969 the song was nominated for a Freedoms Foundation Award.

    Over the years, many efforts were made in the state capitol to adopt an 'official' song but none reached fruition. It wasn't until 1988 when State Representative Frank L Oliver came up with a plan to form a committee of music professionals to select a song without legislative influence. The song was among the over two hundred which the state had accumulated over the years. Being totally unaware of this latest effort, the author and composer were completely surprised when notified of the selection of the song by this committee.

    On June 8 1988, the song was performed live in the Harrisburg Capitol rotunda before a gathering which included the House Committee. After the performance the song was unanimously approved, thus overcoming the years of political wrangling and partisan bickering.

    On November 29 1990, 'Pennsylvania' was adopted as the official song of Pennsylvania.

    OMISSION The sheet music does not give the year of death of the author which was in 2001.