Lift Every Voice and Sing was written as a celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday by James Weldon Johnson and was set to music by his brother J Rosamond Johnson. This choir arrangement is written for SATB divisi and is suitable for a wide range of performances.
The Black National Anthem
Known as the Black National Anthem, Jarrett Johnson, along with Alvin Chea, created and recorded a fabulous a cappella version and placed it on YouTube, which went viral and to their amazement was nominated for a Grammy.
Professor Michele Jenson from Azusa Pacific University told her friend, Jarrett, she wanted to create a choral version for her chamber choir. Choral conducting legend Andre Thomas heard it and wanted it in his new choral series with Gentry Publications.
Dr. André J. Thomas
“This new arrangement is unique in the fact that it is a capella arrangement. As with any good arrangement, the melody is always present. The arrangement is fresh and modern. I know you will enjoy it.”
Lift Every Voice & Sing Choral
Exclusively available through Gentry Publications, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” (2021) has been transcribed so that choirs everywhere can immerse themselves in the emotional and determined lyrics of James Weldon Johnson. Highlighting a rich history of liberation, people and communities alike need to know this inspirational anthem of faith, hope and its importance in American history.
Writer and Composer: James Weldon & J. Rosamond Johnson
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” is a hymn with lyrics by James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), and music by J. Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954). It was first recited in 1900 by a group of 500 students. Since then, it has been performed by various African American singers and musicians, bringing light to James Weldon Johnson’s original text.
Arrangers: Jarrett Johnson & Alvin Chea
Upon the opportunity to have their version of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” performed at the Virtual March on Washington during the summer of 2020, Jarrett Johnson and Alvin Chea realized that they had created something special. Based on the song which inspired them both as children, they had created an arrangement that compelled and sparked the minds of many.
Heart and Soul
“My beloved brother Jarrett Johnson has been doin’ his thang since I can remember, and he ain’t about to stop now! Big-time props to you on this release that touches the heart and soul of our current culture.”
– Quincy Jones
Jarrett Johnson is a GRAMMY® Award nominated vocalist/arranger/songwriter; an industry professional whose expansive skill set has been featured with world-renowned music acts and has appeared on numerous studio recordings. Amidst vocal contracting and vocal coaching, his soulful tenor voice can be heard in a variety of mediums; everything from film and television, to background vocals for major label recording artists.
Some of Jarrett’s performance highlights include singing backing vocals on The GRAMMY® Awards, NBC’s The Voice, ABC’s Good Morning America, and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. He’s also graced the stage of iconic venues including The Apollo, The Kennedy Center and The Lincoln Center before thousands of captivated audience members.
Alvin “Vinnie” Chea, born in San Francisco in 1967 has enjoyed a fruitful 36-year music career. As the Bass vocalist for Take 6 and an “A” list session singer, Chea has individually been featured as an Artist or Sideman in scores of Sound Recordings in virtually all genres. He has appeared in hundreds of Film & TV Soundtracks and his voice-overs can be heard on TV & Radio covering everything from Movie Trailers to Video Games.
He voiced Chili’s iconic TV campaign, “I want my baby-back, baby-back, baby-back ribs.” He sings the tag, “The Snack that Smiles Back” for Goldfish crackers, and also narrates Disney Nature specials and IllustraMedia documentaries. Recently, Alvin can be heard doing V.O.G. work for both the NHL’s and the NAACP’s Award shows.
Alvin’s is the first voice heard after Michael Jackson’s on “This is It,” and the only non-“Jackson” to record on that song.
Finally, Alvin & 4 other amazing LA session singers added the Vocal Underscore to Fox’s hit show “Glee” which ran for 6 seasons. He now appears daily on Disney’s The Lion Guard, once again anchoring 4 voices in the Underscore.
The Azusa Pacific University Chamber Singers join Jarrett Johnson on his Grammy nominated arrangement of “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
Lift Every Voice & Sing Lyrics
Written by James Weldon Johnson
Music by John Rosamond Johnson
Arranged by Jarrett Johnson & Alvin Chea
Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the listening skies
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
Let us march on till victory is won
Stony the road we trod
Bitter the chastening rod
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died
Yet with a steady beat
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered
Out from the gloomy past
Till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast
God of our weary years
God of our silent tears
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way
Thou who has by Thy might Led us into the light
Keep us forever in the path, we pray
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee
Shadowed beneath Thy hand
May we forever stand
True to our God
True to our native land
Our native land