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Down to the River to Pray: A Song of Celebration (Piano/Choral Score)

By Gwyneth W. Walker

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SATB choir and piano or brass quintet and percussion - Intermediate
Composed by Gwyneth W. Walker (1947-). 21st Century, Americana, Baptism, Faith, Folk Song. Piano/choral score. Duration 3 minutes, 30 seconds. E.C. Schirmer Publishing #8476. Published by E.C. Schirmer Publishing (EC.8476).

Item Number: EC.8476

ISBN 600313484766. English.

Down to the River to Pray originates as an American gospel song with a simple message of faith and baptism, going 'down to the river.' However, it is thought that the song was composed by a slave, with reference to the river and the 'starry crown' (North Star) as a route and guide to freedom. Usually the song is performed a cappella, and slowly, prayerfully. However, the walking aspect of the lyrics might suggest a different approach - one of swing rhythm in duple meter. Here the focus is on the journey, the joy of the pilgrimage, and the hope for freedom. The accompaniment (either piano, or brass and percussion) plays a featured role, especially as rhythmic force. The song now becomes one of triumphant progression, hastening on the 'good old way!'-Gwyneth Walker Duration: 3:30.

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