Go, Tell it on the Mountain has become a favorite Christmas spiritual in the United States. Originating on Southern plantations, the song was fashioned in the oral tradition and cannot be attributed to a single writer. However, we should be indebted to the resourcefulness of John Wesley Work, an African-American composer from Nashville, Tennessee. John Work and his family collected Go, Tell it on the Mountain and numerous other spirituals of the oral tradition to ensure the preservation of the art form.
Our arrangement presents the spiritual in its traditional form, yet embraces the rhythmic drive of the gospel genre. This is most evident in the opening refrain where the soloist sings the traditional melody that is immediately supported by a homophonic choral response like those which are often found in the gospel style.
Ames and McKay enhance this seasonal favorite with the inclusion of Jesus! Oh, What a Wonderful Child. Although the origin is unknown, gospel and pop legends have performed stirring renditions of this song for many decades. The combination of these two African-American spirituals results in an exuberant celebration of the Christ-child that is now accessible for many choral ensembles.
Rhythm section parts are provided free of charge by the publisher. A full orchestration is available from the composers. Please email earthsongs for contact information.
Recording courtesy of Windy City Gay Chorus and Windy City Treble Quire
Paul Caldwell, Artistic Director