Continuing with our musical celebration of African-American History month, I will share two traditional spirituals and one “composed” song by a well-known 20th century jazz performer.
The Prelude is the beautiful “Sometimes I Feel like a Motherless Child” as notated by Harry T. Burleigh and arranged by me. Dr. Burleigh was born in 1866 in Erie, PA, the grandson of a former slave, who shared the traditional “slave songs” with Harry as they traveled the streets looking for work. Burleigh received a scholarship to the National Conservatory of Music in New York City studying and performing with the great musicians of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including Anton Dvorak for whom he sang spirituals before the composer’s writing of the “New World Symphony.” Beginning in 1917, at the urging of his friends, he began notating the songs his grandfather had sung to him. His collection of 48 spirituals is a favorite of teachers and singers around the world. He died in 1949 in Stamford, CT.
At the offering I will play Duke Ellington’s “Come Sunday” (Hymn 602), a selection from his 1943 musical Black, Brown, and Beige. By the way, the lyrics of this song are important. Please check them out!
The Postlude will be the upbeat, minor key spiritual “Soon-ah Will Be Done (with the Troubles of the World)”, another Harry Burleigh transcription.
Have no fear, children, traditional organ music will return in March for our Lenten observance.
See you “come Sunday!”