All My Trials

SATB with piano

A setting of the classic folk song, popular during the late 1950’s and 1960’s, recorded in various versions by Joan Baez, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Harry Belafonte, Pete Seeger, and Paul McCartney. The origins of the song are unclear, and it contains elements of a lot of different traditions. It is in turn sorrowful and hopeful. This setting features a rolling, syncopated piano part, and is within reach of most choirs. It is appropriate for both secular and sacred settings.

All My Trials

All my trials, Lord, soon be over

The river of Jordan is muddy and cold,
Well, it chills the body but not the soul.

All my trials, Lord, soon be over

If living were a thing that money could buy,
You know the rich would live and the poor would die.

All my trials, Lord, soon be over

Hush, little baby, don’t you cry,
You know your mama was born to die.

All my trials, Lord, soon be over

There grows a tree in Paradise,
and the pilgrims call it The Tree of Life

All my trials, Lord, soon be over

This Light

SSATB or SATB with Treble Choir, with piano and (opt. string quartet)

With music and words expressing determination to find a way forward after challenges, this piece reminds us that we “know what hope feels like inside,” and encourages us to move into the future “with purpose, with grace, the sun in my soul, golden light on my face.” It can be done with SSATB choirs, or a combined Treble and SATB choir, with piano and optional string quartet. Commissioned in celebration of Rainier Youth Choirs’ 15th Anniversary Season, Leora Schwitters, Founder and Artistic Director. Click here to learn more about poet Jordan Chaney.

this light

from the
mouth of the earth
like gold on fire

the sun speaks and
spills its secrets of life
of light

then sings them to me

I know what hope
feels like inside

a light in the spirit
a place not too distant

past shadows
and dimness

this light
I feel it

it shines
it shines
and brighter

waxing away
still making a way

sorrow became faith
woke up the next day
with purpose
with grace

the sun in my soul
golden light on my face

~Jordan Chaney
10 December 2021


SATB and piano, from “Here, Bullet

The choral version of this piece from the song cycle for tenor, chorus, and piano. Heart-pounding, intense. “It is a condition of wisdom in the archer to be patient because when the arrow leaves the bow, it returns no more.” Sa’di

See the song cycle page for score image and more information.

Reginald Unterseher · “Here, Bullet” 3. Sadiq, Unterseher
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Minimum Purchase of 10 Copies Required



It should make you shake and sweat,

nightmare you, strand you in a desert

of irrevocable desolation, the consequences

seared into the vein, no matter what adrenaline

feeds the muscle its courage, no matter

what god shines down on you, no matter

what crackling pain and anger

you carry in your fists, my friend,

it should break your heart to kill.

–Brian Turner

this morning

SATB with piano

Composed for the Washington ACDA Summer Institute Commissioning Project, with a poem by Afrose Fatima Ahmed, this piece uses images of a bear coming out of hibernation and a conversation with a raven to explore societal changes, looking to the future with courage. “This morning the world cries out its song, I hope you opened your ears to hear it, too.” Click here to learn more about the poet.

this morning

I wake up and open my eyes,
not knowing what I will find.
stepping out onto the street,
the first step in a lifetime.

I’m a bear, skinny and starving,
leaving my cave after winter.
There are salmon in the ocean
inching closer, promising dinner.

This morning I opened my eyes
and the dandelion opened, too.
And the raven said, nice to see
you alive, we’ve really needed you.

When the fires were burning
and the people stayed home
or marched or denied, the airplanes
rested, and we roamed a free sky.

But you’re not a nuisance to us
winged ones, and you are not the cure.
But in the equation of the universe
you play an important figure.

This morning the day beckoned.
This morning I opened to the idea
of something new. This morning the
world cries out its song, I hope you opened
your ears to hear it, too.

~afrose fatima ahmed

A Little Song of Life

Upper Voices, Lower Voices, or Mixed Voices with piano

“Glad that I live, am I!” This setting of Lizette Woodworth Reese’s poem is full of joy, hope, and positive energy, to lift up and inspire both your singers and audiences. A particularly effective piece for festivals and festival choirs. It is now available for Upper Voices, Lower Voices, and Mixed voices with Piano.





The energy, hope and positive energy in the poem is reinforced by the layered rhythms and syncopations in both the piano and voice parts. The poem is divided into three parts. The first part is an expression of the feeling of the joy of the natural world. The middle section explores in simple terms the cyclical nature of natural systems. When the musical material returns, it is both recognizable and developed a little more each time. The third section introduces the last lines of the poems as a mantra, repeated back and forth between two parts while a descant group soars above them.

A Little Song of Life

Glad that I live am I;
That the sky is blue;
Glad for the country lanes,
And the fall of dew.
After the sun the rain,
After the rain the sun;
This is the way of life,
Till the work be done.
All that we need to do,
Be we low or high,
Is to see that we grow
Nearer the sky.

by Lizette Woodworth Reese