The piece “I’ve Been ‘Buked” is a Negro spiritual arranged by Hall Johnson (1888-1970), who sought to combine the European classical music style with African-American traditions. “We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder,” arranged by a scholar of Black gospel music, Horace C. Boyer (1935-2009), is a “gospel-ized” version of the spiritual carrying the same title. Both pieces, sung by our Chamber Choir, exemplify the theme of struggle, upon which we may ponder during Lent.
The hymn during communion, “I Want Jesus to Walk with Me,” is also a spiritual, which finds hope and strength in its depiction of life as a journey. May it encourage us as we journey together through this Lent season.
The prelude, “Adoration,” came from Florence B. Price (1887-1953), one of the first African-American female composers recognized in the symphonic orchestral world. The postlude, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” is a hymn widely known as the “African-American National Anthem.” It was written by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954).