GIA celebrates Black History Month this year by highlighting the depth and breadth of choral music by Black composers in our catalog.
Explore our selections by category below!
Get to know these wonderful choral anthems from our African American Church Music Series.
Dynamic contrasts are only part of the formula for success in performing this piece. There is a restrained quality to the vocal writing and accompaniment that finally gives way to brief outbursts of praise. If you need a sign that God is in the quiet stillness, here it is!
Margaret Bonds, Words by Langston Hughes
This piece, with words by Langston Hughes, is from Margaret Bonds’ cantata Simon Bore the Cross. The cantata pulls into sharp focus individuals of African descent who were integral components of the gospel story: King Balthazar and Simon of Cyrene. A moving piece for Good Friday.
In Spirit and Truth
Featured music from the In Spirit and Truth Series. This series lifts up the work of Black composers in the Catholic church and includes a variety of styles and voicings.
M. Roger Holland II,
English Paraphrase by James Quinn, S.J.
This edition for Holy Thursday was written to reflect African American idioms. “Pange lingua” has rhythm and motion, yet acknowledges the solemn tone of the liturgical moment. As the ritual action moves from procession to adoration and repose, the setting moves to “Tantum ergo.” Though it, too, should have motion, it is more reflective of this most solemn moment: the Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. The closing “Amen” ending on a perfect fifth recalls the style of ancient chant and organum.
W. Clifford Petty
The oppression, abuse, and suffering of Jesus on Good Friday is dramatically told through the blues idiom in this setting of Psalm 31. A strong statement of the finality of the crucifixion with opportunities for solo and keyboard improvisation.
A wonderful, up-tempo setting of the Psalm 118 text. Obviously ideal as an Easter gathering song, there’s no reason why it can’t be used on many other occasions when you want to invite the congregation to join in a celebration of life—they will rejoice and be glad in it!
Jalonda Robertson has composed a high-quality, gospel-inspired choral anthem. The rhythmic, syncopated melodic line and choral harmonies are supported by an idiomatic keyboard part transcribed by Thomas W. Jefferson. A key change introduces the final verse, and the closing section begins with separate, distinct vocal entrances and slowly builds to an exciting conclusion. Choir will relish the power and beauty of both text and music.
Richard Cheri, Jalonda Robertson
Another successful Cheri/Robertson collaboration from our In Spirit and Truth series. You’ll find this psalm setting simply overflowing with energy and intensity. For choirs familiar with the gospel style, this is a required addition for Advent and Christmas.
Explore these arrangements of traditional Spirituals from our African American Church Music Series and Walton Music.
This one takes a deep bass soloist. The SATB choral accompaniment, which calls for some divisi, results in a rich, sonorous, setting that is best appreciated if sung a cappella. A keyboard reduction, however, is provided. If you want to feature your choir’s best bass, this is the piece! He needs a good low F, but only has to sing up to the D above middle C. The alto, tenor and bass parts occasionally divide throughout the arrangement, but that shouldn’t deter you from trying this gem with your singers.
While the solo and choral arranging of this traditional African American song is just about as good as it gets, the crowning achievement of Joubert’s scoring is in the stylistically authentic piano accompaniment. Prepare to do some practicing, then revel in this setting!
An awesome arrangement of a Negro spiritual by one of the late great African American women writers and conductors. Various soloists within the choir intersperse brief calls-e.g., “Here the trumpet blow” in dialog with the full choir, which occasionally breaks into eight parts. Pure excitement.
Discover choral music written in the Gospel style from our African American Church Music Series.
M. Roger Holland II
This composition, in the gospel style, provides many possibilities for choirs and soloists, with unison verses and the recurrence of a sturdy, four-part refrain. The text is vaguely reminiscent of the familiar prayer of Saint Teresa of Avila “Christ has no hands but your hands…” The piece provides for flexibility and improvisation as it grows in intensity to the final refrain.
A contemporary gospel setting of Psalm 27:4 that brought seven thousand people to their feet at its first performance. It has a refrain that you just don’t ever want to stop singing. The well-scored accompaniment will make a gospel pianist out of anyone who can read music!
Explore Congregational Song in these featured collections.
“Mark Miller, composer, minister, professor, and musical griot, is carrying on the tradition of creating New World hymns for a nation hungry for songs that speak to the head, heart, and crisis of modern living. Professor Miller reminds us, hope will never fail, even when anguish and apathy seem to prevail across the landscape of our country.”
—From the Foreword, Otis Moss III, Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, Illinois
More than 75 hymns are presented in this compendium of the hymnic efforts of David Hurd.
His tunes are coupled with texts old and new, capturing just the right mood and meaning of the words. Hurd’s distinctive harmonic language and compositional style provide a wealth of musical expression for congregations and choirs alike.
Hurd’s tunes—JULION, ANDÚJAR and MIGHTY SAVIOR, to name a few—have appeared in a broad range of hymnals and are reprinted here in a single volume. But there are many more compositions that are printed here for the first time.
Ms. Foster’s deep faith and musicology are amplified in one another to a profound degree. Her gifts and skills in performance, choir direction and congregational singing are exceptional. The goal of her work, however, is worship; and the songs in this collection easily invite us there.