Parting Friends – from the Social Harp


play mp3 sample: Parting Friends Free PDF/mp3s

a cappella alto/baritone – traditional – arr. Peter & Mary Alice Amidon

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      Parting Friends - Word Of Mouth Chorus

Free download; you get an mp3 of the recording and a pdf of the Amidons’ two-part arrangement as well as a pdf of John G. McCurry’s three-part arrangement from his 1855 “Social Harp” (which is where the Amidons learned it).  John G. McCurry was a farmer, composer, singing teacher and tailor who lived in northeast Georgia.

In 1975, shortly after they first met, Peter Amidon and Mary Alice Copeland (later Amidon) were introduced to “The Social Harp” by Tony Saletan. Peter and Mary Alice learned several songs from the collection and they came up with this two-part arrangement of “Parting Friends” (Mary Alice melody, Peter harmony) in 1976 while walking through a field in central Vermont.  Larry Gordon, founder and director of the Word of Mouth Chorus, included Peter and Mary Alice’s performance of their arrangement in the Word of Mouth Chorus’s 1978 recording “Rivers of Delight – American Folk Hymns from the Sacred Harp Tradition” (Nonesuch Records) recorded right after Gordon’s Word of Mouth Chorus had returned from a three month tour of the United States in collaboration with the Bread & Puppet Theater.  Lyrics below:

Parting Friends

Farewell my friends, I’m bound for Canaan,
I’m traveling through the wilderness.
Your company has been delightful,
You who doth make my mind distressed.
I go away, behind to leave you,
Perhaps never to meet again;
But if we ever have the pleasure,
I hope we’ll meet in Canaan’s land.