For more than 100 years, congregations and audiences have thrilled to the excitement and energy created by the modern spiritual. From the early composers Harry Burleigh (1866-1949), William Dawson (1899-1990), and Jester Hairston (1901-2000), all the way to modern arrangers such as Moses Hogan (1957-2003), Andre Thomas (b. 1952), Stacey Gibbs (b. 1964), and Rollo Dilworth (b. 1970), the genre has more than just survived, it has thrived to this day. Rarely am I in a concert hall where the glorious sounds of the modern spiritual are not heard reverberating through the rafters.  As such, I wanted to take an opportunity to share with you   some of my favorite spirituals. Consider these, some classic, some modern arrangements as you program for your choir in the coming days:

1. Ride On, King Jesus by Moses Hogan

2. Everybody Need a King Jesus by Heather Sorenson

3. Can’t Carry These Burdens Alone by Michael Barrett

4. Witness by Jack Halloran

5. We’re Gonna Shine our Light by Vicki Tucker Courtney

6. Nothin’ Gonna Stumble My Feet by Greg Gilpin

7. The Battle of Jericho by Moses Hogan

8. Ain’t a That Good News by John Leavitt

A native of Louisiana, John Parker holds the BM in Vocal Performance from Louisiana College and the MM in Choral Conducting from Northwestern State University. Composing primarily for church and school choirs, John’s 600+ choral works are published by numerous state-side companies. Active as a choral clinician and lecturer, Mr. Parker is author of How to Start a Fine Arts Academy in Your Church and numerous drama collections.
John and his family make their home in Austin, TX where John has served as Associate Pastor of Worship & Music at Austin Baptist Church since 2014.

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