March 9, 2016

We Shall Overcome

9781506414010By Tom Trenney
For SATB, percussion
Difficulty Easy
Season/occasion Commemorations, Martin Luther King Jr., peace and justice, truth and guidance, national songs
Buy $1.80


This beloved American freedom song became associated particularly with the Civil Rights marches of the 1960s. Written for a service celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., this arrangement proclaims a powerful message of hope and faith.

From the composer
In putting together a service to commemorate the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., it became clear that we needed to sing “We Shall Overcome.” I realized that I did not know of a particular choral arrangement of this beloved American freedom song, so I decided to create one of my own. This arrangement begins with a sense that the group’s spiritual power is emerging as if from a distance. As the singing progresses, the drumbeat drives the energy of the marchers along. Stanzas for women and men come first with rich, sonorous harmony, then all voices join together-softly but intently-to proclaim, “We are not afraid.” This fearless stanza builds gradually to a terrific climax as the choir sings fervently and with conviction the ultimate promise: “God will see us through . . . someday.” May this music and its message inspire us all to a more courageous faith and a deeper love that we may call upon God to see us through . . . someday.