February is Black History Month, so it seemed appropriate to devote a podcast to some of the wonderful and Spirit-filled offerings from our African-American brothers and sisters in faith, and the amazing heritage of spirituals and Gospel music they continue to keep alive and growing.

So here is I hope a pretty diverse lineup of music, encompassing contemporary Gospel style music and choral spirituals and the hybrid styles that move between the two, representing a broad swath of the composers and arrangers, both men and women, whose work gives such life to the church. I’ll give you their names as we go, but there’s one more name I didn’t want to lose track of here, and that’s Dr. James Abbington of Emory University. (That’s him in the photo up above.) He conducted many of the performances you are about to hear, and continues to play a pivotal role in editing and curating GIA’s African-American church music series, the African-American Heritage Hymnal—basically, if I were to read out his whole bio and all the things he’s done and continues to do, we wouldn’t have time for any music, but my respect for him is immense and I can’t say enough about him as a musician and a scholar, so please go to his bio on the GIA website and check him out for yourself.

Obviously on a half-hour or so podcast I could only scratch the surface of the amazing music out there, but for each of the pieces you’ll hear here, you can click on the CD from which each song comes, and explore more. I know the whole process of preparing this one has made my long car rides much brighter and Holy Spirit-attended than they usually are—and I hope it does the same for you!


Music heard in today’s podcast:

Soon and Very Soon (arr. Derek W. Campbell and VaLimar Jansen)

As recorded on Catholic Classics Vol. 7: African-American Sacred Songs CD-557


Come By Here G-7957 (arr. Uzee Brown, Jr.)

As recorded on My Lord’s Gettin’ Ready for that Great Day CD-9026


Bound for Canaan’s Land G-6499 (arr. Undine Smith Moore)

As recorded on How Excellent is Thy Name: 15 Selections from the African-American Church Music Series, CD-630


Deep River G-7228 (arr. Uzee Brown, Jr.)

As recorded on Use Me: 17 Selections from the African-American Church Music Series, CD-741


Glory Glory Hallelujah G-5953 (arr. C. Eugene Cooper)

As recorded on Spirits that Dwell in Deep Woods, CD-605


Mary’s Canticle G-2836 (Leon Roberts)

As recorded on I Call Upon You, God CD-342


Building up the Kingdom G-8641 (M. Roger Holland II)

As recorded on Building Up the Kingdom, CD-938


Hallelujah, Amen (Nolan Williams, Jr.)

As recorded on 49 Hidden Treasures from the African-American Heritage Hymnal, CD-636


Guide My Feet  G-5952 (arr. Avis D. Graves)

As recorded on Guide My Feet: 14 Selections from the African-American Church Music Series, CD-600


My Peace I Leave With You G-6320 (Wendell C. Woods)

As recorded on How Excellent is Thy Name: 15 Selections from the African-American Church Music Series, CD-630


SingAmen! the Podcast, with Jennifer Kerr Budziak
Sound by Jim Bogdanich

SingAmen! opening music: Promenade, by Bob Moore (from Let Every Instrument Be Tuned for Praise, CD-491, from Liturgical Suite #4, G-4789.. ©GIA Publications, Inc).
SingAmen! closing music: Amen, (from More Sublime Chant, CD-459, The Cathedral Singers, Richard Proulx, conductor. ©GIA Publications, Inc.)