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This reimagining of a timeless classic for SATB Choir will surely be a favorite with any level of ensemble. Willard’s arrangement not only explores the original tune, but expands upon it with tense harmonies and exciting contrasts!
The arrangement was stemmed by the crucial safety measures enacted during the 2020
Corona Virus outbreak and a desire to remain productive during the isolation. This hymn tune was attributed to George H. Allan and while it is accepted that he was most likely the transcriber, research into the tune's history leads to a belief that this tune was composed by either a single
African-American slave or a group of African-American slaves. During their lifetime, the tune obviously took on a different context than it does today. The refrain of "Good Lord, show me the
way," however crosses temporal and spacial boundaries and offers a line of guidance to weary souls.
The arrangement should be performed with style in mind, of course. There are instances where I have chosen to notate these stylistic performance considerations. To quote a metaphor from singer/arranger and my colleague Kathryn Parke, the character of the piece should evoke "barn
raisings," typical of Southern Baptist traditions. Other sources of inspiration of the arrangement can come from other arrangements of Appalachian music, African-American spirituals, and gospel music. Additionally, I have placed commas in the score where breaths are recommended
due to instances of text repetition and have also placed dashed lines to signify no corporate breaths from the ensemble.