The calypso swing description over the first measure best describes the style of this anthem. Carlton Young borrows the timeless words of Wesley’s “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing” and fits them to an entirely new melody. The familiar triple meter is replaced with a 4/4 time signature, accents, and syncopations. Stanzas 1, 3 (and 5) use the same unison melodic material via repeats. Stanza 2 is set for divided voices, women on the first half answered by the men. Stanza 4 stands alone in style. The tempo is slow with tonality moving from F major into D minor. Set a cappella and sustained phrases, the text reveals how Christ breaks the power of sin, setting the prisoner free. The coda section includes hand claps, mixed meter, repeated phrases, and a gradual build in dynamics and chord structure to the end.
The accompaniment is straightforward, presenting no unusual challenges. Syncopations and accents are clearly noted in the score. Keys are easy. The vocal parts are appropriate to mature voices and should be accessible to most four-part mixed choirs. The string bass and claves are simple, with separate parts included in the score.
Performance options include omitting the string bass and claves, although these are an exciting addition for style and rhythm. Stanza 1 may be extracted as a brief call to worship.
Appropriate days: Rally day/homecoming; revival; Wesley’s Covenant Service; services recognize Methodist heritage; and general worship.
Age Level 6-8
Difficulty of vocal parts 4
Difficulty of accompaniment 6
File Size: 2.44 MB