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Wayfaring Stranger (arr Locklear)

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Bill Locklear

Traditional, arranged by Bill Locklear

General Info

Year: 2016
Duration: c. 4:15
Difficulty: III (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Folk Song
Publisher: TRN
Cost: Score and Parts (print) - $65.00   |   Score Only (print) - $10.00


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
English Horn
Bassoon I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
E-flat Alto Clarinet
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contra Alto Clarinet
B-flat Contrabass Clarinet
E-flat Alto Saxophone I-II
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Cornet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Chimes
  • Glockenspiel
  • Mark Tree
  • Snare Drum
  • Suspended Cymbal
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

This beautiful setting of the well- known American folk song is ideal for showcasing an ensemble’s musicianship. The arrangement’s creation was inspired by an NPR news tribute to the legendary folk singer Pete Seeger following his death in 2014. The tribute included a recording of Seeger singing an unaccompanied solo version of the tune. A tender opening section introduces a solo statement of the haunting melody by English horn. Exploring a variety of textures and dynamic levels, the piece builds to a dramatic full ensemble section before shifting to a quiet solo presentation of the melody that brings the piece to a soft, tranquil conclusion.

- Program Note from The Instrumentalist

I dedicated the piece to my dear friend Dr. David Gregory on the occasion of his retirement. Dr. Gregory conducted the premiere of the piece by the Georgia Wind Symphony at their spring concert on June 7th, 2015.

- Program Note by composer

The Wayfaring Stranger (also known as Poor Wayfaring Stranger or I Am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger), Roud 3339, is a well-known American folk song likely originating in the early 19th century about a plaintive soul on the journey through life. As with most folk songs, many variations of the lyrics exist and many versions of this song have been published over time by popular singers, often being linked to times of hardship and notable experiences in the singers' lives.

According to the book The Makers of the Sacred Harp, by David Warren Steel and Richard H. Hulan, the lyrics were published in 1858 in Joseph Bever's Christian Songster, which was a collection of popular hymns and spiritual songs of the time. Steel and Hulan suggest the song was derived from an 1816 German-language hymn, Ich bin ein Gast auf Erden by Isaac Niswander.

During and for several years after the American Civil War, the lyrics were known as the Libby Prison Hymn. This was because the words had been inscribed by a dying Union soldier incarcerated in Libby Prison, a warehouse converted to a notorious Confederate prison in Richmond, Virginia, known for its adverse conditions and high death rate.

Members of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time.

- Program Note from Wikipedia


State Ratings

  • Georgia: IV
  • South Carolina: IV


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Works for Winds by This Composer