In an interview with the Houston Chronicle, Ray said, “God controls everything I do. It was written in about a two-week period. The hard part for me was not being a formally trained composer. The creativity was a result of divine inspiration. He was working with me.“ He added that the piece strikes an ecumenical chord that allows "people of all denominations or faith to embrace the style.”
Stacey V. Gibbs, Shawn Kirchner
From two very important composers of our time, the lyrics in this monumental work challenge ideas of racism and discrimination, while the music combines jazz and traditional choral techniques. No Color offers choirs the chance to declare that "no color can come between us."
This tender and comforting work is a “passing of peace” as its simple yet elegant melody washes over the listener, gently unfolding its text with increasing texture: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you, not as the world gives; do not be afraid.” The Hebrew word shalom forms the refrains, and whispers of the word “peace” further paint the spirit and promise of the text.
My Heart Be Brave
Music by Marques Garrett
Text by James Weldon Johnson
In the midst of discrimination, our heart—the core of our being—must lead us into rightful change. And as we continue doing right, the principles of honesty, love, and justice will give us the power to strive for what is due all of humanity.
All of Us
from Considering Matthew Shepard
Craig Hella Johnson
The final movement of Craig Hella Johnson's epic work is a tribute to the young gay man who has become a symbol for hope and redemption. With elements of hymnody, American folk, and gospel music, the power of this single movement will help lift you up and and add to your understanding.
Traditional South African
"Shosholoza" is an Nguni song that was sung by the mixed tribes of miners mining gold in South Africa. The song is so popular in South African culture that it is often referred to as the country's second national anthem. The word Shosholoza or "tshotsholoza!" means go forward or make way for the next man. It is used as a term of encouragement and hope as a sign of solidarity.
Lift Every Voice and Sing
Music by J. Rosamond Johnson
Text by James Weldon Johnson
Often referred to as the "Black national anthem" Lift Every Voice was written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson and set to music by his brother, J. Rosamond Johnson for Lincoln's birthday celebration in 1905. It is a prayer of thanksgiving for faithfulness and freedom, with imagery evoking the biblical Exodus from slavery to the freedom of the "promised land."
America the Beautiful
Music by Samuel A. Ward
Text by Katharine Lee Bates
Katharine Lee Bates originally wrote the words as a poem, "Pikes Peak", first published in the Fourth of July edition of a church periodical in 1895. Ward had originally written the music, "Materna", for the hymn "O Mother dear, Jerusalem." Ward's music combined with the Bates poem was first published in 1910 and titled "America the Beautiful".