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The Journey (TTBB)

By Elizabeth Alexander

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Men's Chorus (TTBB choir a cappella) - Moderately Advanced
Composed by Elizabeth Alexander. Collegiate Repertoire, Community Chorus, Concert Music. Courage, Hardship, Sacred (Worship & Praise), Choral. Octavo. With Text language: English. Duration 6 minutes. Published by Seafarer Press (SF.SEA-075-00).

Item Number: SF.SEA-075-00

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Text by Evelyn K. Dudley, "The Journey". Lyric adapted by Elizabeth Alexander.

A powerful reflection on contemplation and individual resolve, "The Journey" blends together two voices, as poet Evelyn Dudley's Southern tenacity and hardy faith are coupled with composer Elizabeth Alexander's Appalachian roots and clear musical vision. Prominent solos are featured in all voice parts. Winner of the Athena Festival Almquist Award.

Commissioned by Cincinnati Men's Chorus, Patrick O. Coyle artistic director (Cincinnati, OH) Winner: Athena Festival Almquist Award (SATB version)
Composer's Note: Commissioned as a tribute to the life and work of Coretta Scott King, this song gives musical voice to the words of Evelyn K. Dudley, one of Mrs. King's caregivers during her last months. Rather than placing the accomplishments of a single individual on a pedestal, Dudley's writing speaks to the challenges of any life lived with integrity - by the powerful as well as the disinherited. While composing "The Journey," I found myself using a style I hadn't ever brought into my choral writing: the Appalachian idiom I knew from my childhood on the Ohio River. What a surprise, to return to those roots in my mid-40s. What an interesting journey life truly is.
The lyric's refrain, "I'll go alone if I have to," speaks to the loneliness and difficulty of the less traveled road. This short refrain is often sung by soloists; ensembles may either choose to feature 3-4 singers, or to distribute the solos among a dozen or more soloists.

Text: I'll go alone if I have to. If you're behind me when I begin this journey, stay there, for you will only hinder me. I'll go alone if I have to. My footprints will vanish from this trail someday, but the seeds that I sow will remain and grow. The fragrance from the fruit that is borne will draw those who hunger and thirst, those who seek God in Spirit and Truth. I'll go alone if I have to. For at the end of this journey waits a festive table filled with blessings and prayers that I prayed and had forgotten. Have your fill of these blessings! Oh, I am tired from the journey, and Jesus bids me rest. And I will sit on the porch of the kingdom, And realize the destination was no more important than the journey. I'll go alone if I have to. On this journey, I'll go alone. Original text copyright 1998 by Evelyn K. Dudley. Adapted lyric copyright 2007 by Elizabeth Alexander.

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