This is one of my most popular compositions — an SATB choral arrangement of the classic “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing”, first created as a poem by James Weldon Johnson. It has since been set to music many times, and this performance in March 2015 is one of my favorites. That’s me conducting the San Gabriel Valley Choral Company, with the glorious soprano Jennifer Lindsay singing the solo — we were so glad to have her with us that evening. This piece is available from Edward B. Marks Music Publishing. Please let me know about your performances — I’d love to hear your interpretation!
There is nothing more rewarding than getting kids excited about music. This piece, Umoja, is part of a Kwanzaa cycle that I hope to finish someday. The title refers to the first principle of Kwanzaa, and means “unity”. Umoja developed during my first experience teaching high school girls chorus. We were working on tuning and singing in canons. As we tried different configurations, the music took on a surprising life of its own and transformed into a unified piece. This piece has also been recorded by the choirs at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Pasadena, CA, where I was privileged to be part of their music program for 14 years. Click here to hear it sung by adults.
This recording with the marvelous John Alexander Singers is dear to my heart, for the way it portrays the unique heritage American music has to offer. The Naxos CD is sadly out of print, but still available through Amazon.