Rosephanye Powell is one of the most prolific and relevant composers of our time. Her well-crafted compositions and arrangements are vital resources for the field of choral music.
—Rollo A. Dilworth, Composer & Conductor
Vice Dean and Professor of Choral Music Education
Center for the Performing and Cinematic Arts, Temple University
*Please visit the Christmas page for SATB secular Christmas songs.
ARISE BELOVED! Hal Leonard HL 00115038 NEW!
Commissioned, premiered and recorded by OurSong, Dr. Robert Glor, Artistic Director. (This performance tempo is a bit slow. The composer suggests singing it a bit faster to express the zeal and eager anticipation of the two lovers.)
Hal Leonard demo
Hal Leonard: This buoyant work for mixed chorus is filled with vibrant rhythm and sonorous call and response between the men and women’s voices. Featuring the beloved text from Song of Solomon, this setting is ideal for school and community choirs, especially in spring concerts. Duration: ca. 3:4
NOTES from the Composer
Arise Beloved! is based on Song of Solomon 2:7-13. I was unable to set the biblical text precisely but used it as the foundation upon which to build the lyrics. As found in many romantic texts, the poetry of Song of Solomon uses nature as a backdrop and means to express thoughts of love and passion. Nature provides the nourishment and environment for love to ripen and thrive. Drawing from Romantic art songs and composers such as Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann, I sought to express the poetry through both the voice and piano. Often in choral music, the voices reign in expressing the text while the piano plays a secondary role, providing mainly support harmonically and rhythmically. In Arise Beloved! I employed text painting to allow the piano to play an equal role with the voices in expressing this beautiful poetry.
Arise Beloved! begins with a piano introduction that sets the overall mood of the song while painting the picture of an early spring morning (mm 1-7). The piano introduction is followed by an exuberant vocal introduction which I refer to as “the call” (mm 8-28). The call begins simply then as the beloved does not yet awaken, the call intensifies by means of repetition and increased dynamics. The male voices (representing the call of Solomon to the Shulamite) begin the verse, followed by the women’s voices (representing the call of the Shulamite to Solomon). The verse is repeated with the women’s voices entering first. The meaning of the verse is that having been away from their special place all winter, the lovers are eager to make their way back to the forest. In m. 73-76, the piano depicts the singing of the birds which beckons them to the forest. At this invitation, the lovers venture into the forest to hear, smell, see, and taste the delights of nature (mm 81-106). Here, the accompaniment gives the impression of such an adventure with the moving eighth-notes. Beginning in measure 95, as the lovers hear the voices of the turtle doves sing, the piano is silent so that only the voices are heard (text painting). In measure 107, there is an immediate shift to G minor in the brief piano interlude to prepare the audience for the warning that is to follow. When the voices enter, the lovers are cautioned “Do not awaken love until it pleases”. Although passionate, they must not rush love; rather it must be allowed to blossom naturally in season or it may be stunted, wither and die. After the warning, all is happy again (return to major key) as the beloved is compared to the graceful, leaping gazelles and does that appear before them. In mm 119-122, the leaping gazelles and does are painted in the piano part. To bring the song to a close, there is a brief return to the beginning. The B part of the verse is followed by the A part of the verse, ending with the introduction. The coda, which begins in measure 170 continues with the voices singing the call while the piano plays the exuberant B part of the verse repeatedly. This repetition of voice parts and piano part should lead to the climactic final “Arise”. The song ends with text painting as the piano plays eighth-notes that begin in the bass clef and rise through the treble clef, expressing “Arise!”.
E Oru O Hal Leonard HL – 08742822
SATB, Original song based on and adapted from a Nigerian folk song, a capella, w/percussion
This exciting a cappella work features layered repetitive patterns over African percussion. Ideal for many types of programs, this flexible work can also be used as a processional.
Composer Notes: This song honors the arrival and presence of a king to an African village. The king is hailed as one who is so powerful that he cannot be defeated. At the end of the song, all bow before the king’s presence. The “sha” sound is a percussive effect and one of strength. There is no word for word translation to English because some of the words don’t translate alone. These can only be translated as phrases.
E oru O: Your royalty (seen in the beads you wear):
Oba efeo awo: O King, show it to those
Fere de: who love you
E oru O: Your royalty:
Oyinbo: No man (the enemy)
Etio ja: will take it from you.
Get Busy! Hinshaw Music HMC2559
This original work, composed for divisi mixed chorus with piano, bass and drumset, is a superb concert closer or encore piece for advanced choral ensembles! Full of life and energy, and jazz stylings, will enliven your singers and delight your audience! When possible, employing a jazz pianist (who reads classical music), jazz bassist and drummer takes this song to an even higher level of delight and entertainment!
Grumble Too Much (Hal Leonard demo) Hal Leonard HL – 08742346
I Dream A World Gentry Publications JG – 2293
SATB accompanied, poetry by Langston Hughes. This work by Rosephanye Powell features the words of Langston Hughes that inspired Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This is an anthem for all those who believe in human rights, in peace and hope for a better tomorrow. Powerful! –Hal Leonard
NOTES from the Composer:
I Dream A World is a setting of the poem “To You” by Harlem Renaissance jazz poet, playwright and social activist Langston Hughes (1902-1967). In this song, the composer depicts musically Mr. Hughes’s juxtaposition of the world that is and the world that could be. The world of which Langston Hughes dreams is characterized by joy, peace and freedom; yet, the one in which he lives is full of the “wretchedness” of racial prejudice and avarice. The composer begins the work with a joyful piano introduction that represents the “dream” theme. This is followed by a choral introduction in which the women, echoed by the men, sound the first hearing of “I Dream A World”. The beginning of the song is, for Hughes, a pleasant dream, in which “our world” is one where love, joy and freedom rule. However, as the song develops, the dream becomes dark, representing the present state of being. This is heard in a shift from consonant chords to the use of dissonance in the piano, as well as rhythmic agitation in both the vocal and piano parts. As Hughes’ dream develops further, the poet chooses to believe that “joy, like a pearl” will one day “attend the needs of all mankind”. Because of this, he will continue to dream for a better world, heard in the passionately repeated phrase “I Dream” near the end of the song. I Dream A World ends with a final climactic statement of “our world,” followed by two accented and strident piano chords which depict the poet startled awake–only now aware that he has been dreaming.
The pianist should be carefule not to rush the triplets in measure 70. Additionally, really take the time to set up and sink in to the keys for the final two strident chords in measure 71.
I Will Sing! Hal Leonard # 124764h New!
Exciting, fun piece! “I’ll sing of the joy (…peace, love, and hope) that fills my heart when freedom rings is the message of this uplifting song! This original concert work in the gospel style will showcase your choir at their finest. Ideal for community and social justice events, multicultural events, Black History month, ecumenical worship, and concerts for mixed choirs from high school through adult! So, let freedom ring!
See sample of music at Hal Leonard link below.
Ning Wendete Hal Leonard HL – 08703286
SATB Kenyan folk song arr., a capella, w/optional percussion by William and Rosephanye Powell. This traditional folk song from Kenya is a conversation between a man and a woman. “I love you, but you do not love me. How is that? If you do not love me, you had better tell me so.” Dynamic contrast, percussion and a wide range of layered vocal textures make this an appealing concert choice. –Hal Leonard
The Promise Lives On from “Sing for the Cure” Shawnee Press A2128
Performed by Tim Seelig, conductor, the Turtle Creek Chorale and the Women’s Chorus of Dallas.
SATB ballad, accompanied. This tender ballad, which sets words by lyricist Pamela Martin, is from the multi-movement choral-orchestral work “Sing for the Cure”. It is one of the most popular songs from the work. One can hear the passion of love that endures and keeps promises through difficult times. “My heart remembers…the promise lives on!” says it all!
SOLIDARIDAD! Hal Leonard 08747007 SATB
TTBB version which is unpublished.
SATB Spanish celebration of life with piano accompaniment! If you’re in need of a spirited spanish song to complete your concert, your singers and audience will LOVE “Solidaridad”! Whether we sing, jump, run, shine,or fly as the birds, as one let us join together in solidarity! Taking its text from 19th century Mexican poet Amado Nervo, this exciting concert work in spanish is marked by bright harmonies and vigorous call and response phrases which celebrate the beauty of nature, the power of singing and the strength of unity. Rosephanye’s accompaniment is refreshingly full of spanish vigor and spirit! A challenging and substantial work! Duration: ca. 2:00.
Alondra, ¡vamos a cantar! Cascada, ¡vamos a saltar!
Riachuelo, ¡vamos a correr! Diamante, ¡vamos a brillar!
Águila, ¡vamos a volar! Aurora, ¡vamos a nacer!
¡A cantar! ¡A saltar! ¡A correr! ¡A brillar! ¡A volar! ¡A nacer! Solidaridad!
SORIDA Hal Leonard HL – 08703350
SATB, acappella, w/percussion, based on African greeting. iSoridai is a term of greeting in the Shona language of Zimbabwe, Africa, similar to ishalomi in Hebrew or ijamboi in Swahili. This original work features percussion, layered vocal patterns, and a joyful solo with both secular and sacred texts. An exciting concert procession or opener! –Hal Leonard
From the composer:
SORIDA is an original work rather than an arrangement. While serving at Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas, my husband, Dr. William C. Powell, director of the PSC Collegiate Choir, wanted an African song for the choir’s CD project. However, at the time, the music department could not afford to pay royalties for a published work. So I decided to research the possibility of arranging an African folksong. During my research, I came upon the word “SORIDA” which is an African greeting of brotherhood and unity. Additionally, I found an African children’s song that plays on the syllables of the word “sorida”. So, utilizing the syllables as a foundation (so-ri-da, ri-da, ri-da), the song developed. I composed my own lyrics, melody, and harmonies that might represent the meaning and far-reaching scope of SORIDA . After the choir used the song for its title track, I did not plan to have the song published. However, Dr. Andre Thomas, conductor, (Florida State University) heard the song through a mutual friend and called to say that he wanted it published and wanted to use it immediately. So, of course, I jumped at the opportunity to have Dr. Thomas expose my work (as did Hal Leonard)!
Spread The Love Hal Leonard HL – 08742820
SATB Caribbean-influenced song, accompanied. Written in a joyful, Caribbean folk style, this original work is buoyant and uplifting inviting singers and listeners alike to come together in unity, love and freedom. for many concert occasions. Available for SATB and ShowTrax CD. –Hal Leonard
Still I Rise Gentry Publications JG2527
“Though I have been wounded; aching heart, full of pain, still I rise, yes, still I rise…”Finally, an SATB version of Rosephanye Powell’s very popular work originally composed for women’s voices and inspired by poet Maya Angelou! With its gospel and R&B-like stylings, and bass/drumset, this original choral work with solo speaks poignantly of the struggles of people around the world and in all walks of life. This uplifting song celebrates the life of any and all who persevere and triumph despite all odds.
To Sit And Dream SATB HL 08711521 New!
Setting the poetry of the same title by Langston Hughes, this text addresses “our problem world” with the hope that those who dare to dream can “make our world anew”. The composer sought to capture, in concert form, the jazz influences harmonically that were such a part of Hughes’ world. She sought to utilize harmonic colors that could be both “dark” (representing “our problem world”) and “bright” (“our world anew”) dependent upon the listener’s perspective. In her mind, the composer imagined Hughes, in his apartment, in solitude, reading the paper, overwhelmed by the realities of America’s present state, yet daring to dream of a better day. Almost in a state of trance, he makes his way to the busy streets of New York, reaching out his hand to passersby–those of like mind who will join him in being a catalyst for positive change. Many respond positively and joyfully to his invitation and begin to reach out to others. This idea is expressed in the last section of the song as parts enter successively singing, “I reach out my hand to you,” then join in one voice. For a few moments, everyone one reaches out to everyone else in love and peace. In the final phrase of the song “to sit and dream,” Hughes awakens– the newspaper headlines still before him–and resolves that he may never see such a day, except when he sits and dreams.
Singers and audiences, alike, will love this wonderful song that is great for concert, ecumenical and unity services, and any venue where the message of peace and hope are welcome!