for SATB choir
A splendid arrangement for choirs .... Usable as a recital group or separately, these pieces are well worth consideration by conductors needing something a bit out of the ordinary. —Richard Graves, Choir and Organ
1. I’ Been in the Storm
2. I Want Jesus to Walk with Me
3. Somebody’s Knockin’ at Your Door
The summer after I graduated from college, I accepted an Interim Organist gig at the United Baptist Church, a small, mostly-Black Baptist church in Boston. This short-term job changed the trajectory of my career. I was soon invited to serve as their ongoing Gospel Choir director, which has led to additional gospel choir positions and to the creation of numerous arrangements of spirituals and gospel music.
Artists routinely merge the varied influences in their environment, and certainly my arrangements are no different. In composing "Three Spirituals," I have drawn on the harmonies and melodic inflections of gospel music, but I also incorporated the structural devices and harmonies of my classical upbringing. The result is a very personal creative statement.
Mindful that I am setting music from a cultural tradition and history that is not my own, I have frequently started spiritual arrangements the melody sung in unison. My hope is to honor the beauty of the original melodies before adding my own creative interpretation. Mindful that there is no tune "composer" with whom I can share the proceeds from my arrangements, I now donate 50% of my personal proceeds from spiritual arrangements to organizations that serve the musical development of underserved youth.