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On an American Spiritual

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David Holsinger

David Holsinger

General Info

Year: 1991
Duration: c. 3:40
Difficulty: IV (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: TRN Music
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $65.00   |   Score Only (print) - $10.00


Full Score
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-III
Horn in F I-II
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion I-II-III

  • Bar Chimes
  • Bass Drum
  • Bells
  • Gong
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle
  • Xylophone


  • All, m.1: Correct tempo is Quarter Note = ca. 80
  • Horn in F I-II, m.25-26: Missing two measure crescendo
  • Horn in F I-II, m.27: Should have an "sfz" attack
  • Horn in F I-II, m.76: Pitches should be:  B-B-A-A, in the first horn and G#-G#-E-E, in the second horn

Program Notes

In Holsinger's Hymnsong Series, the listener may notice that On An American Spiritual is a surprising departure from his previous hymnsong compositions. We expect the plaintive opening ("Were you there when they crucified my Lord? . . .") and majestic closing portions ("Were you there when He rose up from the dead? . . ."), but the chaotic, brutal nature of the center section would seem greatly out of place until one reminds oneself of the lyrics of this Easter lament, where the center verses recount how they nailed Him to a tree and laid Him in the grave. With this in mind, we realize that Holsinger has composed a variation very dependent on extramusical events (the traditional verses) for inspiration and understanding.

- Program Note from publisher


State Ratings

  • Alabama: Class B
  • Georgia: IV
  • Kansas: IV
  • Michigan: Senior High B
  • Minnesota: II
  • Mississippi: V-A
  • New York: Concert Band IV
  • North Carolina: IV
  • Oklahoma: IIII-A
  • South Carolina: IV
  • Tennessee: IV
  • Virginia: IV


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • Bethel University (St. Paul, Minn.) Wind Symphony (Steven Thompson) - 29 October 2022
  • University Wind Ensemble of Concordia University (Seward, Neb.) (Andrew Schultz, conductor) – 25 March 2018
  • Concordia University (Seward, Neb.) Symphonic Band (Andrew Schultz, conductor) – 17 October 2017
  • Dalton-Whitfield Community Band (Tunnel Hill, Ga.) (David Holsinger, conductor) – 18 April 2017
  • Illiana Christian High School (Lansing, Ill.) (Brian Covey, conductor) – 28 April 2016
  • Potsdam (New York) Community Band (Theresa Witmer, conductor) – 17 January 2016
  • Illiana Christian High School (Lansing, Ill.) Wind Ensemble (Patricia Menninga, conductor) – 7 May 2010

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • David Holsinger website Accessed 29 August 2021
  • Holsinger, D. (1991). On an American Spiritual [score]. TRN Music Publisher: [s.l.]