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Children, Go Where I Send Thee

African-American Spiritual

By Elizabeth Alexander

Children's Choir and Piano (SA choir (children's choir), soprano voice/tenor voice soloist and piano) - Easy
African-American Spiritual. Arranged by Elizabeth Alexander. Junior/Youth Choir, Concert Music, Church Choir-Anthem. Church Choir-Seasonal-Christmas, Sacred (Worship & Praise), Choral, Spirituals/Gospel. Octavo. With Text language: English. Duration 3 minutes. Published by Seafarer Press (SF.SEA-018-00).

Item Number: SF.SEA-018-00

Text from an African-American spiritual.

This clever arrangement of "Children, Go Where I Send Thee" is presented as a dialogue between an adult soloist and children's choir. A colorful accompaniment, delightful piano interludes, a little thigh-slapping, and a brief foray into musical punsmanship make for a Christmas treat.

Composer's Note: When I sang this song to my own children - during long car rides, or while they were waiting for dinner to be ready - I sang the "real" lyrics when I could remember them, and unabashedly made up my own words when I could not. But when I decided to arrange this song for treble choir, I found that there were many different versions of this song, and I had to make some conscious choices. In the spirit of oral tradition, some of these verses are traditional, and some are original. Verses 1-3: These first three verses are pretty standard. (Although my son Oliver has been known to sing: " for the little Beanie Baby...") Verse 4: Although one popular version says: "four for the four come a-knockin' at the door," I chose to save that most catchy rhythm for Verse 8, where it provides an opportunity for a surprising interlude. Verse 5: This verse I came up with on my own. Since "four gospel preachers" refers to the first four books in the New Testament, I decided to have the five "ancient stories" refer to the first five books in the Old Testament, often called the "Pentateuch." Verse 6: It seems so natural to link "six" with the points on the Star of David, also called the "Jewish Star", that I only tentatively assert that I'm the first to come up with this verse. Verse 7: Verse 7 is always "the seven who went to heaven." Case closed. Verse 8: Who knows who the eight are who "come a-knocking at the gate"? I don't think anyone knows for sure. What I do know is this: it's the funnest verse to sing! Verse 9: This verse is standard, too, though it's not clear to me what sign "the nine" saw. Ask your young singers to use their imaginations. What might the sign have said? Behold? Be Not Afraid? Question Authority? Verse 10: There were several possibilities for the final verse, but in the end I decided to use one I wrote myself, since I know of few things more valuable in a religious life than "trying again." So there you have it! Have fun!
Range: Soprano: d'-f '' , Alto: d'-c"

Text: Children, go where I send thee! How shall I send thee? I'm gonna send thee one by one: One for the little bitty baby Wrapped in swaddling clothing Lying in a manger Born, born, oh born in Bethlehem. I'm gonna send thee two by two: Two for Joseph and Mary, I'm gonna send thee three by three: Three for the three old wise men, I'm gonna send thee four by four: Four for the gospel preachers, I'm gonna send thee five by five: Five for the ancient stories, I'm gonna send thee six by six: Six for the star of David, I'm gonna send thee seven by seven: Seven for the seven who went to heaven, I'm gonna send thee eight by eight: Eight for the eight come a-knockin' at the gate, I'm gonna send thee nine by nine: Nine for the nine who saw the sign, I'm gonna send thee ten by ten: Ten for the ten who tried again.

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  • 4

    oly, wa
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  • 2008-11-03 00:00:00.0 great setting for this traditional piece

    not toooooo terribly hard for my jr. choir to learn. fun setting so easy to motivate them to sing it. all performances i have heard of this are delightful.

    19 of 43 people found this review helpful.
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