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Easter: Gospel-style

Dear colleagues,

As always, you have come through with some great suggestions for our
gospel choir to sing on Easter. A couple of names came through several
times as noted, and it turns out we even have those pieces already. It just
goes to show I need to continually look closer at the pieces we've sung in the
past, and maybe come up with a new way of indexing them! Thanks so much!!

Since it happens that we're already working on the Gospel Mass by Robert
Ray, we will probably do the Credo, which does have a long section on the

Some people asked for names of other gospel pieces, so I've included our
repertoire list at the bottom. As it is often hard to categorize a piece as to
whether it is gospel or a spiritual, I just lumped them all together - our choir
doesn't care about the labels!

Best wishes,

Original question:

This might a little out of the normal style for many of you, but I would like to
know if you have any recommendations for SATB Easter anthems in a gospel
style. We have a rather new intergenerational gospel choir at church, and I'm
having trouble finding something in that style for Easter Sunday. And if it has
a great piano part, that would be super!

Survey Says:

One of the best gospel arrangements I know is Amazing Grace, which is
not an Easter anthem, I realize, but seems to fit any occasion! It's
Shawnee Press, SATB, A1130. The piano part is great. Just change the
choir's half note on "lost" (first page) and "found" (next page) to an
eighth note and you're all set! The arranger is John Coates, Jr. Check
him out, if you don't know of him, for more good ones!
Ruth McKendree Treen, Director of Music
First Congregational Church, Chatham, Massachusetts

This recommendation is really more for Lent or Good Friday, but I
thought I'd go ahead anyway. I've arranged a quite simple, and what I
would call "easy Gospel feel" of HERE IS LOVE. The text is
wonderful, and the arr. is very accessible. It's published by Hope
(#5065) Let me know if you'd like a comp copy, and I'll get one to you.
Greg Wheatley

I have used Keith Hampton's Praise His Holy Name! for Easter. A
really super gospel number, it isn't overtly Easter, but with the verses
using Amazing Grace text and references to Jesus bearing the cross
alone, it still fits. St. Olaf did the piece at the convention in Chicago a
couple of years ago if you were there. Brought the audience to their
feet. Denise Nannestad- Grace Presbyterian Church Littleton, CO.

Robert Ray's "Gospel Mass" combines the mass text, in English, with
some 70s style gospel music. Its pretty good, and the "Credo" section
would be very good for Easter time. Tyler Skidmore

I recently started a small gospel group as well, and while I don't have a
specific piece to recommend, I will mention that Oxford has recently
published a book of spirituals edited by Moses Hogan.
Josh & Nancy Peterson - Directors of Music, First United Presbyterian

You may want to consider "Born to Die" by Glenn Burleigh. Good luck.
Eric Anthony

What about "Praise His Holy Name," by Keith Hampton, Earthsongs
edition, on the St. Olaf Choir tour two years ago--my choirs love it.
Also, "Hear Me, Redeemer," by Henry Mollicone (can't remember the
publisher), lovely soprano/tenor solo, slow, penitential, but would be
nice for Communion anthem. First piece has a GREAT piano part,
second piece is a cappella; both can be sung WELL by folks not raised
in a gospel tradition. Karen Biscay, Lourdes College

If it might be what you're looking for, I'll be glad to send you a score
and tape of "Finally On My Way To Yes." This gospel-inspired
SSATB piece was not at all written with Easter in mind, but -- happily
and surprisingly -- it will be performed by three different church choirs
this Easter. The piece has been performed by a several choirs,
including the Gregg Smith Singers, and it won the Ithaca College Choral
Composition Competition last November. It's definitely a challenging
work, which works best with a really strong conductor and a choir,
which can mostly read music. And it has what I refer to as a real
"piano part" (as opposed to an "accompaniment"). Its rather unusual
text by Pesha Gertler speaks more to our personal resurrections than to
the Biblical one. Let me know if you'd like a copy -- and best of luck
with your search! Elizabeth Alexander ea(a)

I have an unpublished piece in gospel style- a setting( a cappella) of the
words of the Hallelujah Chorus. It really swings! Want to see a copy?
Best regards, Bob Jordahl, jordahl321_(a)h

I'm probably not the first to recommend PRAISE HIS HOLY NAME by
Keith Hampton. CCOPC(a)

I Didn’t Know - SATB w/ piano - Greg A. Lapp bp000702. This
was commissioned by the Irvine Presbeterian Church for Easter
Sunday, 2001. Based on the story of two travelers on the road to
Emmaus, this piece captures the thoughts and feelings of these two and
translates it to us today. It is set in a gospel style and utilizes a strong
soloist and pianist. The piece fits very well during the Easter season or
as a concert piece. If you are interested in a perusal copy of any of the
listed pieces please contact us directly my email.
Greg Lapp, Lappers2(a)

Check out all the music composed/arranged by Mark Hayes.
Dave Spitko

I have used the Credo movement from Robert Ray's Gospel Mass on
Easter. It works very well. The whole work exhibits some of the best
choral writing I have ever seen in that genre. Other movements are very
excerpt-able as well. Oh yes, in my church re-titling Credo to "I
Believe" worked better. Invest in the whole work. It has some hard
spots but it is really worth it. I have a CD we produced in live
performance. It's not good enough to put on the market, but it does
represent the music. Hope this works for you.
Glen McCune, Dir of Music Ministries, St. Giles Presbyterian Church,
Richmond, VA

Try "Mary, Mary" by Joseph Martin. If you have a bass player, that
makes it even better. Published by Shawnee Press. Martha Springstead,
Community United Methodist Church Virginia Beach, VA

And now, our list of gospel and/or spiritual favorites from the
Londonderry United Methodist Church youth and gospel choirs:

All My Trials arr. by Mark Hayes
Amazing Grace arr. by Ed Lojeski
Children of God by Anderson T. Dailey and Benjamin Harlan
Gospel Magnificat by Robert Ray
Gospel Mass by Robert Ray (multi-movement work)
Gospel Medley from Preacher’s Wife arr. by Kirby Shaw
Keep Your Lamps by Andre Thomas
Kumbaya arr. by Marc Robinson (Advent text)
Leaning on the Everlasting Arms arranged by Mark Hayes
Lord, Listen to Your Children by Ken Medema and Jack Schrader
Marchin’ On Up arr. by Mark Hayes
Order My Steps by Glenn Burleigh, arr. by Jack Schrader
Praise His Holy Name! by Keith Hampton
Praise the Lord Cameroon melody arr. by Ralph Johnson
Soon and Very Soon by Andrae Crouch, arr. by Jack Schrader
Standing on the Promises by R. Kelso Carter, arr. by Mark Hayes
Twelve Gates into the City, arr. by Larry Shackley
Wade in the Water arr. by Mark Hayes
Worthy to be Praised! By Byron J. Smith

Joy Comes in the Morning by Billy D. Martin and Jimbo Stevens
(easy, Easter)
Lay Up Your Treasures in Heaven by Pepper Choplin (a cappella,
medium voice solo)
Rock of Ages arr. by Ed Lojeski

Judy L. Greenhill, NCTM
Greenhill House of Music
Immediate Past President, New Hampshire Music Teachers Association
Director, Nashua Choral Ensemble
Worship Choir Director, Children's and Youth Choir Co-Director
Londonderry United Methodist Church

on January 11, 2007 10:00pm
Hi Judy,

Thanks for mentioning my song!

Jimbo Stevens

James M. Stevens, DMA
Chairman of the Music Department
Free Will Baptist Bible College
3606 West End Ave
Nashville, TN 37205