Black History Month: Choral Trailblazers

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Loïs Mailou Jones, La Baker

To kick off Black History Month, Kent Tritle presents music by African-American composers and arrangers. We hear beloved spirituals as well as some lesser-known works by Florence Price, Aldolphus Hailstork and William Grant Still.

Choral music has long been a key part of the African-American story. From spirituals to art songs and beyond, composers have drawn on their own traditions, European classical music, jazz and much more to create something unique.


Florence Beatrice Price:

Song for Snow

Moon Bridge

VocalEssence Ensemble Singers and Chorus with Orchestra

Philip Brunelle, Conductor

Clarion 907         


R. Nathaniel Dett: Listen to the Lambs

The Nathaniel Dett Chorale

Brainerd Blyden-Taylor, Conductor

Marquis 81293 



Hale Smith:

In Memoriam - Beryl Rubinstein

I - Moderato

II - Poème D’Automne

III - Elegy

Kulas Choir and Chamber Orchestra

Robert Shaw, Conductor

Composers Recordings, Inc. (CRI) 860 


Adolphus Hailstork:

The Cloths of Heaven

Tyrone Clinton, Percussion; Tyrone Webb, Percussion; Aaron Paige, Percussion

The Atlanta Singers

David Morrow, Conductor

Aca Digital 20111


Traditional (arranger, Adolphus Hailstork):

Motherless Child

Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola

Kent Tritle, Conductor

MSR Classics MS 1144


William Grant Still:

And They Lynched Him on a Tree:

No.1. We’ve Swung Him Higher

No.2. Look Dere

No.3. Oh, Sorrow

No.4. He Was Her Baby

No.5. They Took Away His Freedom

No.6. They Left Him Hanging

William Warfield, Spoken Vocals; Hilda Harris, Mezzo Soprano

VocalEssence Ensemble

Leigh Morris Chorale

Philip Brunelle, Conductor

Clarion 905


Ulysses S. Kay:

A New Song - Three Psalms for Chorus: Sing Unto the Lord

Trinity Church Wall Street

Larry King, Conductor


David Hurd: Let the peace of Christ Rule in Your Hearts

Oregon Catholic Press Choir

Trinitas Publishing


Leonard De Paur: In That Great Gettin’ Morning

Leonard De Paur Infantry Chorus



Moses Hogan: Great Day

The Moses Hogan Singers

Barbara Hendricks, Soloist

Warner Classics