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Amazing Grace (Henderson/Coletti)

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Traditional (arr. Luther Henderson; adapt. Chris Coletti)

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General Info

Year: 1835 /
Duration: c. 4:05
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Hymn
Publisher: Unknown
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

With estimated performances of ten million times per year, Amazing Grace is arguably the most beloved and famous hymn in the world. Its text is a poem written by John Newton, a British man, who thought it as his spiritual biography in 1779. This hymn grew in popularity during the nineteenth century, eventually becoming a staple in the African American community. Newton grew up without any religious conviction and as a young man described himself as lacking “moral self-control and discipline.” At age nineteen, he was taken by force into service in the British Royal Navy and was quickly relieved of his post due to misbehavior. He began a career as a slave trader for quick profits. A violent storm battered his ship off the coast of Ireland and swept a crew member overboard from where he was standing. Jonathan Aitken, Newton’s biographer, refers to this as the beginning of Newton’s spiritual conversion. Eventually Newton left the slave trade and was ordained as a priest in the Church of England. “

Amazing Grace was written as part of a sermon given on New Year’s Day 1773. At that time it was simply a poem. Though it was obscure in England after its publication, Amazing Grace quickly became popular in the United States. Baptist and Methodist preachers, especially in the South, used the hymn throughout the Protestant Second Great Awakening of the late nineteenth century. In 1835, American composer William Walker set it to the hymn tune known as New Britain. Amazing Grace was referenced in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin and had surges of popularity during the Civil War and Vietnam War. It has appeared on recordings by Judy Collins, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Johnny Cash, Elvis, and Willie Nelson, and President Barack Obama famously sang the hymn during the memorial service for a victim of the church shooting in Charleston, South Carolina.

This version of Amazing Grace was originally arranged by Luther Henderson for the Canadian Brass, and later transcribed for concert band by Chris Coletti. Henderson draws on jazz and Dixieland traditions for this arrangement, invoking the popular and emblematic improvisational and Gospel versions of this hymn

- Program Note from U.S. Marine Band concert program, 11 August 2022

This Luther Henderson arrangement was done in a Dixieland style for the Canadian Brass.


None discovered thus far.

State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Jason K. Fettig, conductor; Christian Ferrari, trumpet) - 11 August 2022

Works for Winds by this Composer


None discovered thus far.