William Appling Singers & Orchestra


Our acclaimed CD on Albany Records, Shall We Gather, is a recording of 27 beautiful American hymns and spirituals drawn largely from the 19th century, the golden period of religious music in America. The recording is taken from a live performance presented at New York City’s Christ and St. Stephen’s Church.

The recording includes extensive program notes giving background on the American hymn and Negro spiritual as well as information on each individual work, plus an essay by author Ian Frazier.

William Appling Singers & Orchestra’s presentation of these American hymns and spirituals is unique in that the works are performed in their original or “least arrange” forms, without the ornamentation or altered harmonies that can hide the pure beauty of this music. Among the works performed are traditional hymns by Lowell Mason and Charles Zeuner, the gospel hymns of Robert Lowry and George F. Root, folk and revival hymns and wonderful Shaker hymn, More Love. The spirituals are drawn from the classic collections of John W. Work, Harry T. Burleigh, and J. Rosamond Johnson.

Hymns and spirituals form much of the core American music of the 20th century, both popular and classical. Many American composers, including Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, William Grant Still and Virgil Thomson, were deeply influenced by these works, and the jazz, folk and popular music of this century was a direct outgrowth of the hymn and spiritual.



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Shall We Gather
American Hymns and Spirituals


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