A Few of Our Favorite …

Accessible Traditional Spirituals 

Compiled by Eric Dundore

I recently received a message from one of our members inquiring about more accessible Traditional African-American Spirituals for their choir. Sometimes the best-known arrangements of spirituals are rhythmically and harmonically challenging and have too many voice parts to be practical in a smaller choir setting. So here are some (but certainly not all) spiritual arrangements that choirs could sing with much less stress and fewer singers. These pieces can be previewed and purchased at https://www.sheetmusicplus.com/ or https://www.jwpepper.com/

All My Trials: arr. Harry Causey SAB w/piano or guitar Beckenhorst Press

All Night, All Day: arr. Greg Gilpin SAB w/piano and track recording Shawnee Press

The Angel Rolled the Stone Away: arr. Daniel C. Meyer SAB a cappella • GIA Publ.

Behold that Star: arr. Patsy Ford Simms SAB a capella • Shawnee Press

Born, Born in Bethlehem: arr. Donald Moore SAB (also two-part and TB) w/piano and tambourine BriLee Music

Bright Mansions Above: arr. Greg Gilpin SAB (optional low bass) w/piano Warner Bros.

Chariot Comin’: arr. Sonja Poorman SAB w/piano BriLee Music

Deep River: arr. Karl Hitzemann SAB w/piano Plank Road Publ.

Deep River: arr. Donald Moore SATB a cappella Morning Star Music

Deep River: arr. Earlene Rentz SAB w/piano Warner Bros.

Down by the Riverside: arr. Lon Beery and Pamela Lee SAB (optional low bass) w/piano Bri Lee Music

Elijah Rock: arr. Roger Emerson SAT(B) w/piano • Hal Leonard

Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit: arr. Ruth Schram  SATB w/piano (opt. handbells) Warner Bros.

Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit: arr. Debbie Cavalier SAB w/piano (opt. percussion) Carl Fischer

Ezekiel Saw the Wheel: arr. Gilbert Martin  SAB w/piano Hinshaw

Give Me Jesus: arr. Larry Shackley SAB (also SATB) w/piano Alfred Music

Go Down, Moses: arr. Michael Myrick SAB (some three-part treble divisi) w/piano

Go Down, Moses: arr. Stephen DeCesare SAB (and other voicings) w/piano Exultet Music

Going Over Home (medley of Poor Wayfaring Stranger and Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child) arr. Sonja Poorman SAB (also SATB) w/piano BriLee Music

Gonna Sing: arr. Andy Beck SAB (also two-part, SSA, and TTB) a cappella w/percussion Alfred Music

Go, Tell It on the Mountain: arr. Russell Robinson two-part Mixed (with opt. SATB notes) w/ piano  Warner Bros.

Harps and Wheels (medley of Little David, Play on Your Harp and Ezekiel Saw the Wheel): arr. Joseph Martin • 2-pt mixed w/piano Shawnee Press

Here's One: arr. Tom Fettke SAB (also SATB) w/piano • Alfred Music

Hush! Somebody's Callin' My Name: arr. Brazeal Dennard SAB (also SATB, two-part, and TTBB) a cappella Hal Leonard

I'm Gonna Sing When the Spirit Says Sing: arr. James DesJardins SAB w/piano  Carl Fischer

I'm Trampin': arr. Neil A. Johnson  SAB w/piano  Heritage Music Press

Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child: arr. Lloyd Larson  SAB w/piano  Hope Publ.

Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho: arr. Pat Willet – SAB (also two-part and SATB) w/piano  Heritage Music Press

Keep in the Middle of the Road: Arr. Russell Robinson  SAB (also two-part) w/piano  Heritage Music Press

Little David: arr. Michael Scott  SAB w/piano  Warner Bros.

Lonesome Road: arr. Sonja Poorman  SAB (also two-part, SATB and TTB) w/piano  Warner Bros.

Lonesome Valley: arr. Roger Emerson  SAB w/piano • Hal Leonard

Ride the Chariot: arr. William Melton  SAB (flexible voicing options) a cappella  Cambiata Press

Ride the Chariot: arr. Ander Thomas  SATB a cappella w/drum  Hinshaw

Set Down Servant: arr. Roger Emerson  SAB (also two-part and SATB) w/piano  Hal Leonard

Sinner Man: arr. Roger Emerson  SAB (opt. tenor) w/piano  Hal Leonard

Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child: arr. Christopher Kalstad  SAB w/piano

Songs of the Wayfarer: arr. Joseph Martin  two-part mixed (also SA) w/piano  Shawnee Press

There Is a Balm in Gilead: arr. Don Smith  SATB w/solo a cappella  Plymouth Music

There Is More Love Somewhere: arr. Robert Hugh  SAB w/piano  Hal Leonard

This Little Light of Mine: arr. Earlene Rentz  SAB w/piano

Wade in the Water: arr. Donald Moore  SATB w/piano (opt. bass and drums)  Alfred Music

Wade in the Water: arr. Russell Robinson  SAB w/piano  Alfred Music

Wade in the Water: arr. Bruce Trinkley  SATB w/piano  Augsburg Fortress

Wade in the Water and Lord, I Know I Been Changed: arr. Michael Myrick  SAB (also SATB) w/piano

Were You There: arr. Stephen DeCesare  two-part Mixed (also SA or TB) w/piano - Exultet Music

If you have a good grasp on the Gospel music style, check out the choral music of Horace J. Scruggs, III at Music Composition horacescruggsmusic.com. He has really exciting arrangements of:

    • Plenty Good Room: SAB
    • Get On Board: SATB
    • Ride On, King Jesus: SAB or SATB
    • Steal Away: SAB
    • I Need the Lord: SATB
    • Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child: SATB
    • Wild, Deep River: SAB

Also, the Podd Brothers – Adam and Matt. The Podd Brothers have several arrangements of spirituals in various voicings and with rehearsal tracks, but accessible, including:

  • Go, Tell It on the Mountain
  • Over My Head
  • There Is More Love Somewhere
  • Wayfaring Stranger
  • We Shall Not Be Moved
They also have made this pledge:

“In an effort to continue the promotion and proliferation of these, and other important forms of musical expression rooted in Black culture, we (Adam and Matt Podd) donate an industry-standard ‘royalty’ rate from the profits of any public domain music we have arranged which is attributed to non-white sources. This royalty will go to various non-profit organizations which support black musical arts and artists — especially in those traditions from which we have been most heavily influenced.”  

For the Summer 2023 issue of the journal, we are asking the question, "What choir anthem has had the most positive influence on your life and why?" Please ask your choir members to respond and send their answers (as long as they wish) to ericdundore@outlook.com by March 30, 2023.


A Sunburst of Glory

By Mary Louise Bringle

Rewarded with Holy Grace

Tune By McKee

Lyrics & Arr. Reverend Cliff Aerie

Trenny Responses

By Tom Trenney

Finlandia - Hymnbook

By Jean Sibelius

Finlandia  - Piano

By Jean Sibelius

Arr. WWL

Finlandia - Organ

By Jean Sibelius

Arr. WLW


This Celtic wheel cross is a form of Christian cross that emerged in Ireland, France and Great Britain in the Early Middle Ages. It became widespread through its use in the stone high crosses erected across the islands, especially in regions evangelized by Irish missionaries.

This cross is not to be confused with a variation that was appropriated for use as a symbol of white supremacy. The symbol is vastly used by non-extremists in contexts such as Christianity, neo-Paganism, and Irish patriotism.

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