Introduction to 2nd Edition of Fifty-five Anthems

Introduction to the 2nd Edition

 This 2nd Edition still includes forty-one of the fifty-five arrangements that were in the original “Fifty-five Anthems” collection. Although fourteen songs in the original edition are not included in the 2nd Edition: Beauty of the Lord, Free at Last, Motherless Child, My Lord What a Morning, Precious Memories, Shepherd’s Star, Simple Gifts, Sweet Hour of Prayer, Swing Low, Thanks to God, This Little Light, You Can’t Hurry God, World Wide Peace and What You Gonna Call, these songs are all still available for download on our Online Choral Store. We have replaced them here with fourteen new arrangements and compositions we are excited about. We are planning no further song changes in future printings of our “Fifty-five Anthems” collection. Any future new arrangements that might have lived comfortably in this book will be dwelling instead in our “Online Choral Store” (which also includes most of the arrangements in this book).

Recordings of all of the songs in the book are available for download purchase at

For those of you who have already purchased the first edition of “Fifty-five Anthems”, we are publishing a book: “Give Us a Song – The Fourteen New Choral Arrangements in the Amidons’ Fifty-five Anthems for the Small Church Choir, 2nd Edition.

We are excited about the arrangements new to this 2nd Edition of “Fifty-five Anthems.” Be Thou My Vision has long been one of our favorite hymns. There is a two-section arrangement of the spiritual Take Me To the Water: the first section inspired by a straightforward and heartfelt performance by a choir in an African American church baptism service; the second inspired by a performance by Nina Simone. The piano/SATB arrangement of Doc and Rosa Watson’s Your Lone Journey was inspired by Sam Amidon’s interpretation of the song. Climbing High Mountains is one of the many beautiful old hymns we learned from Lucy Simpson. There is a meditative piano/SATB arrangement of the Sacred Harp classic DevotionI Will Arise is a beautiful old American hymn with two new verses; a great anthem for Lent. There are arrangements of two 20th century hymns: John Jacob Niles’ introspective I Wonder As I Wander and Jonathan Edwards’ exuberant O Give Us a SongEli Eli is from the Jewish tradition: Israeli composer David Sehavi’s setting of Hannah Szene’s powerful poem. And, finally, we have included five new compositions: two settings – one piano/unison and one piano/SATB – of So Far From Home, an Advent poem by our friend the Rev. Tom Mousin; The Good Samaritan, a piano/unison setting of the parable (a wonderful vehicle for several different choir member solos); an a cappella SATB setting of The Lord’s Prayer; and a short, simple, piano/solo/SATB setting of the Magnificat.

 —Peter Amidon, 2019