Joyful Resistance and the Soul of African American Sacred Music

Gospel Service imageGod of our weary years

God of our silent tears

Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way


These powerful words, penned by James Weldon Johnson in 1921 and spoken at the 2009 inauguration of President Obama, are part of the sacred heritage of the African American musical canon. We owe a great debt to both the known and unknown bards who fought back oppressive cruelty and systematic degradation by composing incredible songs of resistance and joy. In this service filled with engaging congregational singing there will be both familiar and new works, many by composer Mark Miller, which seek to capture the love of God and demand for justice found in the best African American hymnody. Organ, piano, and percussion will energetically demonstrate how the music can be most effectively supported within this genre.