Down to the River

From Wind Repertory Project
Michael Sweeney

Folk song, arranged by Michael Sweeney

General Info

Year: 2019
Duration: c. 2:45
Difficulty: I-1/2 (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Hal Leonard
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $45.00; (digital) - $45.00   |   Score Only (print) - $5.00


Full Score
Oboe (optional)
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Bass Clarinet*
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone*
B-flat Trumpet I-II
Horn in F (optional)
Percussion I-II-III, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Bells (optional)
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle
  • Vibraphone

*Any one or more of these instruments will provide an adequate bass part.


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Here is an emotion-filled arrangement for young players based on the folk tune Down to the River to Pray, which is thought to have been composed by an African-American slave. There is an element of sadness in the music, but also a glimmer of hope as the slaves dream of freedom and being reunited with family and friends.

- Program Note from publisher

Down in the River to Pray (also known as Down to the River to Pray, Down in the Valley to Pray, The Good Old Way, and Come, Let Us All Go Down) is a traditional American song variously described as a Christian folk hymn, an African-American spiritual, an Appalachian song, and a gospel song. The exact origin of the song is unknown. Research suggests that it was composed by an African-American slave.

The earliest known version of the song, titled The Good Old Way, was published in Slave Songs of the United States in 1867. The song (#104) was contributed to that book by George H. Allan of Nashville, Tennessee, who may also have been the transcriber.

- Program Note from Wikipedia


State Ratings

  • Texas: II. Complete


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

Works for Winds by This Composer

Adaptable Music

All Wind Works