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Reluctant Joys

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Brant Karrick

Brant Karrick

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General Info

Year: 2019
Difficulty: V (see Ratings for explanation)
Publisher: Alfred Publishing
Cost: Score and Parts – Available Spring 2020


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

The songs of slaves in the United States are in large part a reflection of the suffering and deprivation Black slaves had to endure before their emancipation. They partially obtained in song what was denied them in real life: salvation and release from the daily, inhuman torture they had to endure at the hands of their white masters. However, it can be argued that slave songs, including spirituals work songs and plantation songs, became the bedrock out of which our American music was born, especially American popular music such as blues, jazz and rock.

The six songs used in this setting were found in a modern edition of the original 1867 publication Slave Songs of the United States collected by William Francis Allen, Charles Pickard Ware and Lucy McKim-Garrison. My goal was to set these beautiful melodies in a modern band setting, both capturing their simple elegance and charm as well as incorporating fresh musical ideas with harmony, accompaniment, meter and counter point. The six songs I chose weave themselves into a rhapsodic musical tapestry and include: Poor Rosy, Heave Away, Shock Along John, The Good Old Way, There’s a Meeting Here Tonight and Good-bye Brother.

- Program Note by composer


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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  • Andrews University (Berrien Springs, Mich.) Wind Symphony (Byron Graves, conductor) - 4 March 2022
  • University of Washington (Seattle) Symphonic Band (Steven Morrison, conductor) – 2 May 2019

Works for Winds by This Composer


  • Brant Karrick, personal correspondence, August 2019