Submitted by Shawn Funk
R&R Chair for Children's & Community Youth Choirs
It is my pleasure to recommend a wonderful piece by Andrea Ramsey from 2017 that is a great "find" on so many levels. "The Gift to Sing" is available in SA, SSA and SATB voicings with piano. This sensitive gospel like setting of the James Wheldon Johnson text offers an opportunity to gently swing to this text of depth and wonder. I have found this piece to be particularly effective when combining varying levels of choirs, which will hopefully be something that we can look forward to in the not too distant future.
Technically, the piece offers a progressively thickening of texture, and it offers the opportunity for young singers to explore varying registers and develop vocal colors throughout the piece. At the culmination point of the piece, an optional decant is included for more advanced choirs or for singers needing an extra challenge.
In addition to the amazing career of composer/arranger Andrea Ramsey, student singers will be interested to explore the life of the lyricist James Wheldon Johnson. Many of my singers did not know that he was the composer of "Lift Every Voice and Sing". Many cross curricular discussions are a natural outgrowth of learning this work.
Although composed before the pandemic, the text is very appropriate as we emerge. The final page reiterates the important message: "I Can Sing", something most of us will never take for granted again.
Information on this piece available at MusicSpoke: https://musicspoke.com/downloads/the-gift-to-sing/