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African American Spirituals CDs

Spirituals are the Southern sacred "folk" songs created and first sung by African Americans during slavery. Their original composers are unknown, and they have assumed a position of collective ownership by the whole community. They lend themselves easily to communal singing. Many are in a call-and-response structure, with back-and-forth exchanges between the leader and the group. A formal concert tradition has evolved from the original spirituals, with solo and choral arrangements based on original slave melodies, employed for performance by amateur and professional artists.

Although it is impossible to determine with certainty when the first spirituals were created, most scholars speculate that these songs proliferated near the end of the eighteenth century and during the last few decades leading up to the end of legalized slavery in the 1860Õs. Spirituals functioned on many levels for enslaved Africans. While the songs primarily expressed deeply held religious convictions, especially for newly converted Christians, they also reflected deep longings for freedom, often masked in the form of secret codes or messages imbedded in the lyrics of the songs.

The immersion of early twentieth century African American composers like Harry Burleigh into the world of European classical music composition not only inspired their own new arrangements of spirituals, but also exerted an influence on the work of the European and American mentors with whom they studied. New jazz interpretations of the spirituals have surfaced; opera divas like Kathleen Battle and Jessye Norman have performed acclaimed concerts of spirituals; a small but significant cadre of church musicians are pushing for the re-integration of spirituals into church worship; there are a variety of national educational initiatives aimed at educating children and families about the cultural significance and relevance of the spirituals tradition; there are uses of the spirituals in secular-based ministries.

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Displaying 51-57 of 57 items.

Roger Emerson : Down to the River to Pray

Review: Featured in the film O Brother, Where Art Thou?, this Appalachian-flavored spiritual is a unique and heartfelt expression from the soul. Now available for three-part mixed voices, your middle school choirs will shine.

Sheet Music Available: 3-Part

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4538p | Voicetrax CD | $24.95 || Choral VoiceTrax Recordings | Discovery Concert

Roger Emerson : Spirituals for Two

Review: Five of Roger Emerson's contemporary spiritual settings are crafted for 2-Part voices in a value-packed collection that is perfect for younger choirs in elementary through middle school! Songs include: All My Trials, Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel, Let Me Ride (Swing Down Chariot), Sinner Man, Witness. Available separately: 2-Part Collection, VoiceTrax CD.

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5425p | Voicetrax CD | $39.95 || Gospel VoiceTrax Recordings

Roger Emerson : The Battle of Jericho

Review: In the classic Emerson style, this contemporary spiritual is a great confidence builder for younger and developing choirs. With powerful and dramatic vocal effects, it makes a great concert and festival finale! Discovery Level 2. Available separately: 3-Part Mixed, 2-Part, VoiceTrax CD. Duration: ca. 2:30.

Sheet Music Available: 3-Part,   2-Part

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4572p | Voicetrax CD | $22.95 || Choral VoiceTrax Recordings | Traditional Spiritual | Music of Roger Emerson

Roger Emerson : Wade in the Water

Review: The subdued opening unfolds into a high energy contemporary setting of the traditional spiritual. Well-crafted vocal lines and accessible call and response harmonies are sure to be a hit with developing choirs! Discovery Level 2. Available separately: SATB, 3-Part Mixed, VoiceTrax CD. Duration: ca. 2:30.

Sheet Music Available: SATB

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4557p | Voicetrax CD | $19.95 || Choral VoiceTrax Recordings | Music of Roger Emerson

Rollo Dilworth : Hush! Somebody's Callin' My Name

Review: Introduce your young treble choir to this glorious spiritual with this well-crafted and expressive setting with its steady, walking bass line, gospel harmonies and haunting vocal effects. Powerful words and and a powerful message! Available separately: 2-Part, VoiceTrax CD. Duration: ca. 4:00.

Sheet Music Available: 2-Part

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4584p | Voicetrax CD | $19.95 || Choral VoiceTrax Recordings | Music of Rollo Dilworth

Rollo Dilworth : Joy in My Heart

Review: This setting of traditional spirituals is a great confidence builder for young choirs. Bluesy harmonies, a powerful gospel accompaniment and a positive message make it a superb concert showcase!Available separately: 2-Part and VoiceTrax CD. Performance Time: Approx. 2:00.

Sheet Music Available: 2-Part

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4498p | Voicetrax CD | $22.95 || Gospel VoiceTrax Recordings | Discovery Concert

Ruth Morris Gray : Walk to Bethlehem

Review: Young mixed choirs will shine with this original Christmas spiritual that is well-crafted for success. Perform with the upbeat gospel piano accompaniment or a cappella for even more programming options.

Sheet Music Available: 3-Part

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8275p | Voicetrax CD | $22.95 || Christmas VoiceTrax Recordings | Ruth Morris Gray | Discovery Christmas Choral

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