for SATB a cappella choir, with Soprano and Baritone solos
‘Balm in Gilead’ is a fervent prayer to the heavens, to relieve the aches and weighty sorrows of an entire enslaved people. In his memorable autobiography, Frederick Douglass wrote these searing, and unforgettable words; “I have often been utterly astonished, since I came to the north, to find persons who could speak of the singing, among slaves, as evidence of their contentment and happiness. It is impossible to conceive of a greater mistake… I have often sung to to drown my sorrow, but seldom to express my happiness. Crying for joy, and singing for joy, were alike uncommon to me while in the jaws of slavery…” The immense gift of these rich melodies, reminds us of how far we’ve come- and how far we still have to go.