SATB divisi and tenor solo, a cappella

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Lehigh University Choral Arts
Derek Wilson, tenor
Steven Sametz, director

Lehigh University Choral Arts on "Everywhere"
Derek Wilson, tenor
Steven Sametz, director

Walton Music HL08501596

Program Notes

Calvary comes from one of the darkest periods in American culture. By identifying with the pain and suffering of Jesus on the cross (Matthew 27: 32-50), African slaves could also claim hope of salvation and the promise of an afterlife free of pain. Calvary, like many spirituals, works on multiple levels: the recounting of particular Biblical scenes gives insight into the plight of the slave in America’s difficult social history, while testifying that, through the outpouring of song, the human spirit can transcend even inhumane conditions and endure for generations to come.

Calvary was introduced to me by a former student of mine, Donna Parris, when she sang the melody a cappella during a Lehigh University Choir concert in 1981.  The haunting tune stayed with me over the years and in 2003 I made an arrangement for Lehigh University Choral Arts featuring another talented student of mine, Derek Wilson. I am grateful to all my students  —  who teach me so much.


Surely He died on Calvary!
Can’t you hear Him calling His father?
Surely He died on Calvary!
Hear Him saying, “It is finished!”
Surely He died on Calvary!

–Afro-American Spiritual


Order "Calvary" from Walton Music