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Just a Closer Walk with Thee

By Fredrick Allen

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Just a Closer Walk with Thee composed by Fredrick Allen. For concert band. Grade 3. Full score. Published by TRN Music Publisher (TU.FSJUS1).

"This hymn is well-known throughout America, though its composer and origin are unknown. It gained notoriety in the 1930's as African-American churches met for large singing conventions. It is also a staple of the famous jazz funerals of New Orleans.

Arranged to honor the band teaching career of Barbara Lovett, the setting was designed to capture her peaceful and warm sprit. The rocking eighth note figures that begin in measure 2 portray the constant pulse of the life of Barbara Lovett: faithful and study for her students, family and friends.

Though this setting purposely avoids the jazz style frequently associated with the tune, there is a respectful nod to the jazz idiom at the end of the trumpet solo in mm. 76-79. The opening live of the text "I am weak but Thou art strong" has a relationship to the biblical scripture in II Corinthians 13:3-4.

The tempo should not be too slow: avoid playing slower that the marking. Slight rubato is appropriate, especially in the area at 66, where soloists call to one another. Conductors should feel free to add dynamic contours to add expressiveness to this hymn

Fred J. Allen is Director of Bands at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. In addition to his responsibilities with the band, he teaches conducting and music education classes. Prior to his current position, Allen taught at Abilene Christian University and for eleven years in public schools. His areas of specialization include literature for bands and intonation of the wind instruments. TRN has published pieces for band by Fred J. Allen which draw upon his experience As a public school teacher. He attempts to present opportunities for expressive playing within the range and rhythm constriction necessary for young instrumentalists. Allen is a member of College Band Directors National Association, Texas Music Educators Association, and Phi Beta Mu honorary bandmasters fraternity.".

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