The Gift To Sing

This work for SATB a cappella was composed in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. The text is by James Weldon Johnson (1876-1938). Johnson was an American writer and civil rights activist. He was a leader of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), where he started working in 1917.

This recording came out of the 27 April 2023 First Readings Project, J. David Moore, director, in Minneapolis, MN.

James Weldon Johnson

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Sometimes the mist overhangs my path,
And blackening clouds about me cling;
But, oh, I have a magic way
To turn the gloom to cheerful day—
I softly sing.

And if the way grows darker still,
Shadowed by Sorrow’s somber wing,
With glad defiance in my throat,
I pierce the darkness with a note,
And sing, and sing.

I brood not over the broken past,
Nor dread whatever time may bring;
No nights are dark, no days are long,
While in my heart there swells a song,
And I can sing.

SATB a cappella
Date completed:
Autumn, 2020
James Weldon Johnson

The Gift to Sing

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