As the Deer Pants * Published by Hal Leonard (HL.8745423)

Alabama All-State Women’s Chorus 2011, Jeff Clayton Conductor

Beginning to middle

Middle to ending

SSAA sacred song, piano accompaniment. Psalm 42 is the inspiration for this breathtaking work. Strong vocal lines coupled with an arresting piano accompaniment provide multiple opportunities for musical expression.

Composer notes:

In As the Dear Pants, I imagined the biblical character David experiencing a dry, lonely time in his life–perhaps as Saul, Absalom or one of his other enemies pursued him. David is aware that his dryness is as much about his spiritual state as it is his physical location in one of the desert plains. The state of his soul is compared to a deer in desperate need of a lake or pond from which to quench his thirst. In David’s case, that pond is the very presence of God. In his desolation, David’s tears have served as nourishment, allowing David the much-needed release of feelings of frustration and loneliness. Everyone, he feels, has turned against him and taunts him, asking “Where is this God of yours who will rescue you?” (This is heard in the music as the accompaniment and voices take on a more agitated presentation.) But then, in a moment, David begins to remember. Yes, he remembers a time in which he danced in worship as a youth, or as he and the people brought the Ark of the Covenant back to Jerusalem . Oh, what rejoicing there was! He led the procession. So much so, that he danced out of his clothes, with no shame as King! And, for that moment as he remembers, there is joy! (Hopefully, one can hear musical ideas of an Israeli dance in the accompaniment beginning at “these things I remember”) But, all too soon, David is brought back to the reality of his present state, one of loneliness, dryness, and thirst. In the end, David realizes that this thirsty state is the best place for him to be for this is what will keep the warrior and king humble, drawing close to the very heart of God as he serves others. And, after all, God has delivered him in the past; thus, He will do so again.


Ascribe to the Lord SSAA demo w/piano Gentry Publications – JG2308

Performed by the Kansas CDA All-State Women’s Choir

SSAA, anthem, piano accompaniment.

Composer notes:

The A section is the exhortation to worship. The B section is the act of worship. And, the brief return to A is the closing exhortation to depart in worship. The piano accompaniment, centered around the pitch c , with chords interspersed, should be played with rhythmic energy and drive. It was premiered by the Plymouth Music Ensemble and Orchestra under the direction of Philip Brunnelle. So, it may help for the pianist to imagine an orchestra. Of course, the piano is unable to provide the powerful accompaniment that would be provided by an orchestra. However, the piano accompaniment in the B section should set up the sense of awe and stirring waters by means of the tension created in the quick repetition of middle c . In this section, the voices should build until they climax on in the unison singing of “The voice of the Lord is POWERFUL!” Be sure to stress POWERFUL and MAJESTIC. This section is the climax of the piece. The release of tension (created in the B section) occurs at the return of the A section. The song then builds to a final climax with the repeat of WORSHIP HIM, each one more emphatic and louder than the preceding one. The final him should be as emphatic and dramatic as possible.

Note to the director: Let the final “HIM” hang in the air (in silence) before relaxing your arms and the choir.


Ev’ry Time I Feel The Spirit Gentry Publications JG2380

Commissioned by the Sofia Chamber Choir “Vassil Arnaudov”-Bulgaria. This exciting SSAA acapella arrangement of the popular spiritual is sure to please!


Good News Gentry Publications – JG2311

SSAA, spiritual arr. A setting of the spiritual that is full of energy and excitement! It builds to a rousing, climactic ending! Not your ordinary song for women’s voices, it moves audiences as they witness the beauty and strength of women’s voices.


Grumble Too Much Hal Leonard HL – 08742400

SSAA, Caribbean folk song arr., accompanied.This Caribbean folk song is an irresistible change of pace that makes light of woman’s inability to please a man. –Hal Leonard


I Wanna Be Ready Gentry Publications – JG2315

SSA version arr. by William C. Powell
Demo: SATB version


SATB accompanied spiritual arr. (gospel-style piano). This spiritual arrangement includes a gospel-style piano accompaniment. Because of its homophonic texture, and strophic form, the choral parts are easy to learn. It includes a solo for medium low/high voice.


I Want To Die While You Love Me SSAA, w/piano NEW! #HL 00156854 or Gentry Publications: JG2489

Rosephanye Powell has taken a passionate poem of love by Georgia African-American poet Douglas Johnson and given us notes that truly sing. A fitting wedding song, it celebrates the moment when love is at its fullest. It fits almost any advanced high school, college or community/professional women’s chorus concert program!

From the Composer:

Georgia Douglas Johnson (1877-1966), considered to be the most prolific female poet of the Harlem Renaissance, was the first black woman since Frances E.W. Harper to receive national acclaim in literary circles. Johnson was born in Atlanta, Georgia, graduated from Atlanta University and the Oberlin Conservatory of music, and settled in Washington, D.C. Johnson’s poetry deals frequently with love and life observations. Her artistic output includes works as a playwright, fiction writer, songwriter, journalist and poet. She published four volumes of verse: The Heart of a Woman (1918), Bronze (1922), An Autumn Love Cycle (1928), and Share My World (1962).

I was immediately drawn to this poem when I first read it. Georgia Douglass Johnson describes a day in which she and her beloved experience the height of passion; one day spent alone in which each finds pleasure in the other and the fire of love is full flame. It is a day that Johnson hopes will never end and wishes to carry to her death: “and bear to that still bed, your kisses, turbulent (passionate), unspent, to warm me when I’m dead.” The poet longs to die in the bliss of this moment, such that she “never sees the glory of this perfect day grow dim or cease to be.” One might ask “Why should one desire death in the midst of such joy?” The poet answers: “Oh, who would care to live til love has nothing more to ask and nothing more to give, I want to die while you love me.” The reality is that love may wane; that the passion experienced today may die in time. Therefore, Johnson’s ultimate desire is to “die while you love me”. As a composer, I found Johnson’s lyrical and poignant poetry to be most inspiring for musical development. Her ability to share such depth of passion succinctly took my breath away. At times, because of the depth to which she had touched my heart, I wondered if I could adequately share with others musically what Johnson had shared with me. And, I am humbled to be a vehicle through which Ms. Johnson’s poetry may touch the hearts of many others.


Keep Yo’ Lamps Shawnee Press #MFB0002. Distributed by Hal Leonard (HL.35011982) New!


For SSAA choir, a cappella (SSAA A CAPPELLA). Shawnee Press. Sacred, Advent.

Commissioned by MUSE Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir, this song is full of the energy and drama associated with American slavery and the underground railroad. The haunting drums and repeated, emphatic “No”‘ will call you to keep your lamps trimmed and burning in Rosephanye Powell”s stirring arrangement of this spiritual. The slave is encouraged to stay awake through the night, being watchful for Harriet Tubman who would be sure to come at any time. The undoubtedly tired slave who has worked all day is cautioned against becoming weary in her waiting for the “time is drawing nigh”. This song is fun to learn and is sure to please any audience!


Kingston Market Hal Leonard HL – 08741815

SSA or three-part treble, Caribbean folk song arr., acc. This traditional Caribbean folk song makes a wonderful showcase for treble choirs. Joyful rhythms, easy-to-sing layered harmony parts and optional percussion highlight this setting by Dr. Rosephanye Powell. Available: 3-Part Treble. Performance Time: Approx. 2:00.
–Hal Leonard


Non Nobis Domine Gentry Publications JG2340

Audio demo: satb version featuring VocalEssence, MN.


(VocalEssence, MN)

SATB, a capella, sacred, Latin, motet. The SATB setting of iNon Nobis Dominei has become one of Rosephanye Powell’s most celebratedworks. The driving energy and ostinato rhythms are classic elements from Rosephanye’s pen. Her husband William has adeptly revoiced this a cappella setting for SSAA –Fred Bock Music


Sanctus Hal Leonard HL08743507

SSA, a capella.

This new setting of the traditional Latin text is a perfect teaching piece for women’s choirs. The strong piano accompaniment combined with tender vocal lines creates much opportunity for musical expression. –Hal Leonard


Sicut Cervus Alliance Music Publications AMP 0584

SSAA, a cappella, Latin motet. “Rosephanye Powell’s “Sicut Cervus” is a powerful and ethereal setting of a timeless text. Structured loosely in a rondo form (ABACA), the A section is reminiscent of the mysticism and otherworldly quality associated with plainchant (although it is not monodic). The A sections alternate with increasingly powerful polyphonic sections, which explore the questions raised in the psalm text. The contemplative ending offers, in its final moment, a harmonic “ray” of hope. This selection is an ideal choice for medium to advanced women’s choirs.”

–Judith Willoughby, internationally-recognized choral conductor


Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child SSAA JG2475 NEW!
http://www.fredbock.com/Detail.asp?tid=JG2475
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FxX7Vgz2BT4 SATB
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgajhyJXQbc SATB version

Rosephanye Powell’s gripping arrangement, heart-wrenching harmonies and soulful blue notes express the mournful grace of this traditional spiritual. The inclusion of the two brief West African texts adds years of history and depth to this somber Spiritual. The surprising “Picardy” ending provides a pleasant reassurance. School or church Medium difficulty.

From the Composer:

In this arrangement, I sought to express the final moments of a slave who has been whipped and beaten at the hands of the slave owner or overseer, as his/her life ebbs away. The African words are translated “something terrible has happend, something has happened to mothers.” As the slave drifts away to freedom (death), in the midst of his/her pain, memories of the motherland and of the mother who was sold away engulf the slave. The African words “Bokayan nu wo vinowo” represent these painful memories. They also depict the African priests’ drawing the slave’s soul/spirit back to Africa through death. The lofty [Oo]’s of the first soprano’s beginning at measure 24, paint musically the slave’s longing to depart this world and soar to freedom/heaven. In measure 37, the slave’s spirit is finally released from the slave’s body and ascends to heaven–the homeland, and freedom. Measures 42-44, depict the African priests, hovering over the dead slave, delivering final rites in death, as the slave breathes his/her final breaths. Upon the “Amen,” the slave through death finds peace, and returns to the homeland, heard in the picardy third (major chord).


Still I Rise Gentry Publications JG2346

SSAA, piano accompaniment; upbeat women’s message song in the gospel style. “This original song by Rosephanye Powell reminds us of her African-American roots with its Spiritual-like style. Commissioned by “Vox Femina,” one of the ensembles selected to perform at the ACDA National Convention, 2005, the piece has already received a rousing reception. The encouraging text and determined tune will assure this piece a staple for women’s choirs the world over.” –Fred Bock Music

From the composer:

Still I Rise was inspired by the poem of the same name by poet laureate Maya Angelou. It is a women’s anthem, saluting the strength of women to persevere through life’s difficulties–low self-esteem, physical and emotional abuse, rape, incest, prejudice, abandonment, and such like. In summary, though a woman’s life or past may be filled with tears and heartaches, with each day that she finds herself still living, she finds that she has grown stronger and risen a little higher because her circumstances have not overcome her. Thus, every new day can be one of hope and joy because regardless of the past, today, “still I rise”!