piano/SATB – African American spiritual – arr. Peter Amidon
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Sung here by the Friends-of-the-Amidons singers with Ron Kelley on alto saxophone. In ‘Fifty-five Anthems for the Small Church Choir‘ book & CD. This is a lively spiritual from Louisiana. Try it with your favorite jazz saxophone player. The Guilford (VT) Community Church Choir has often done this in rolicking unison in our Christmas Eve 11 pm services when they do not have the time or singers to work up the SATB arrangement. Peter learned this from the “Second Penguin Book of Christmas Carols” which features mostly traditional American carols. (The Amidons also learned “Watts Cradle Hymn” from this collection.) The collection was edited by Elizabeth Poston, who is the composer of the beautiful Christmas anthem “Jesus Christ the Apple Tree“. Here is the story behind “O Mary”.
African American spiritual, from Louisiana
Read in the gospel of Mathayew,
The gospel of Luke and John
Read in the Bible and learn the news
How the little boy child was born.
Read about Mary and Joseph come,
A-riding on a donkey from far,
Slept in a stable in Bethlehem
While the shepherds all seen the star.
O Mary, where is your baby,
They done took him from the manger
And carried him to the throne.
Read about the elders and the Hebrew priest,
A-preaching in the tabernacle hail,
Standing in a-wonder at the words they heard
From a li’l boy child so small,
Hey little boy how old are you,
Tell me if you let it be known?
Hey little boy how old are you?
I ain’t but twelve years old.