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Journey songs

I want to do a themed concert based on my late wife's motto "Journey Strong"  What are some pieces whose text speaks of life's journey, hope, peace, and strenght for life. Please include voicing and arranger/composer.
Thanks, colleagues .
Replies (14): Threaded | Chronological
on June 2, 2014 5:06pm
A while back, our family lost a strong woman also on a journey.  Her motto was “Walk On” and her story was set to lyrics by my wife and I set it into a gospel piece called
The Gospel of Mrs Sadie” for high soloist (tenor or soprano or both), SATB, and piano.  It's free.  Please take a look at it at
Hope that helps.
Michael A. Gray
on June 3, 2014 5:45am
This one might work:
It's available for free download on CPDL ( here:  
(Click the PDF icon towards the top of the page.)  I can email you a pdf to print out if that's easier.
SATB a cappella with a soprano solo descant on the last verse that could also be sung by a small group of sopranos, depending on the size of your group.  
It's a mighty rocky road. 
Traveling a mighty rocky road. 
It's a mighty rocky road, she said, 
it goes on forever and ever. 
Sweet water divine. Sweet Savior of mine. 
Oh, my Jesus will find me in time. 
Sweet water divine.
I hear singing down the road. 
Can't you hear them singing down the road? 
It's a mighty rocky road, she said, 
it goes on forever and ever. 
Sweet water, etc
All the saints been down the road,
just before me, walkin' down the road. 
See them walking hand in hand, she said, 
though the way goes on forever.
Or what about "Down to the River to Pray"? A nice arrangement of it was used in the "O Brother Where Art Thou" soundtrack for those who are unfamiliar.  
Or "Precious Lord, Take My Hand." :  through the storm, through the night, lead me on...
Were you looking for primarily sacred or secular works and do you prefer works with accompaniment?  
M. Furtak
on June 3, 2014 10:31am
Climb Every Mountain and When You Walk Through a Storm are well known but never fail to move me. 
I'm not sure if Maggie's suggestion is a version of, or derived from, the Shape Note hymn Traveling a Mighty Rocky Road, as I couldn't get to youtube from this computer.  But I would recommend the traditional Shape Note setting of the hymn, from one of the readily available Sacred Harp books, sung in Shape Note style.  It would give you a powerful historical piece in a style often neglected by choirs.  "Seek the old paths and walk therein."  The hymn is on page 294 of my 1971 "Denson Revisions" edition (the brown book) of the Original Sacred Harp, Sacred Harp Publishing, Bremen GA, and certainly in more recent publications.  There are Sacred Harp singing groups in most states, and your choir might enjoy hearing a demonstration if you have such a group near you.  
Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 3, 2014 5:59pm
Well-spotted Bart!  It is indeed a kissing cousin to the Sacred Harp "Rocky Road."  The Smithsonian Folkways recording of that is one of my very favorites, so I put together something similar.  (:  Since "Rocky Road" is homophonic, it might be a little simpler to do than my original suggestion.  The text for it is...  
I’ve a Father on the road,
He’s almost done traveling,
A Father on the road.
He’s bound to go where Jesus is,
His soul shall ascend where Jesus is,
To enjoy the peaceful home of rest.
He’s bound to go where Jesus is,
And be there forever blest.

It’s a mighty rocky road,
He's almost done traveling,
A mighty rocky road,
He's bound to go where Jesus is.

I've a Mother on the road...
Here's a youtube for anyone who doesn't know it.  They do-re-mi their way through it once before singing the words, so don't let that confuse you.  It's a scratchy recording, so the first time I heard it I had no idea what was going on.  Enjoy!
Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 4, 2014 12:19pm
Further tentative historical information: the Sacred Harp setting was made in the 1830s, from a Negro Spiritual.
on June 3, 2014 10:39am
What a wonderful tribute to your wife.  Here are some pieces that you might consider for your concert:
•Light the Fire Within, arranged  by Mac Huff, SATB, pub. Hal Leonard
•The Human Heart, arranged by Andy Beck, SATB, pub. Alfred
•I Dream a World, SATB, by Andre Thomas, pub. Lorenz
•The Power of Hope, SATB, by Carole Stephens, pub. Warner
•Riversong A Celtic Celebration, by Roger Emerson, SATB
•The Prayer, SATB, arranged by Teena Chinn, pub. Warner
•Nella Fantasia - SATB arranged by Audrey Snyder
on June 4, 2014 8:45am
Two Celtic Songs and/or The Final Journey by John Bell.
on June 4, 2014 9:32am
Hi Brad,
What a beautiful way to honor your late wife! I've written two very powerful "journey" songs that I commend to your attention: "Take My Hand" and "Carry On." Both may be heard on my website, and both have excellent SATB arrangements. Good luck in your search!
Hank Fellows
on June 4, 2014 8:34pm
I very much like Song of the Open Road by Ruth Elaine Schram (BriLee, SA piano) - easy, optimistic song about setting out on life's journey
For a strong traditional English song about the journey at the other end of life, consider the Lyke Wake Dirge - this SATB a cappella version arr. Peter Hill and Sheena Phillips available from Canasg Music.
A stirring traditional Irish folk song of farewell is The Parting Glass, this arrangement for SATB a cappella by Peter Hill.
The words of The Irish Blessing are very appropriate for a journey theme too.  This is a setting by me for SA, organ (or piano) commissioned for a wedding.
Many spirituals have a journey connotation (including the passage from life to death).  Examples that spring to mind are Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, The Gospel Train, Deep River, Steal Away.
Best wishes for what sounds like a wonderful program
Sheena Phillips
on June 5, 2014 6:04am
I have a short work for SATB (mostly unison except last verse), fl & org Journey of Faith which should still be available from Theodore Preseer Co. (Please let me know if you cannot secure it!)
Norman Dello Joio did a phenomenal setting of Whitman's Song of the Open Road for SATB (div.?), piano and trumpet, available from Carl Fischer if you're looking for a more extended work.
Hope this helps,
Robert A.M. Ross
Chair, Music department
Community College of Philadelphia <Robert Ross 11>
on June 5, 2014 6:19am
Check out the King's Singers arrangement of the James Taylor song "That Lonesome Road".
A decent example by a mixed a capella ensemble can be found on Youtube at
If you find a source for the singe edition (without having to purchase the KS booklet), let me know.
Good luck,
on June 5, 2014 7:28am
Have a look at "We are Going" at This is a nice audience participation piece. The lyrics are online and the tune very simple, and I "wrote" it (I actually received it in a dream), so it's free for use. You can download the mp3 from Amazon or iTunes. It came out of Hurricane Katrina but it can be used in a variety of contexts. Very easy to harmonize to.
Sing on!
on June 5, 2014 8:01am
The Road Home, by Stephen Paulus, a cappella available SATB, SSAA, TTBB, +soloist
on June 6, 2014 11:59am
Speaking of "We Are Going,"  Ysaye Barnwell's arrangement of "Woyaya" by Sol Amarifio is wonderful. It's a part of her Singing in the African American Tradition. SATB with optional percussion.
Another shapenote song I like on this theme is "White" from the Sacred Harp. There are many others as well.
Also, David Mahler's 4-part round with verses, "Long Way Home," is a big hit with my chorus. Available here:
you might also like my SATB a cappella arrangement of Katy Cruel, an early American song. Let me know if you'd a perusal copy. Here are the lyrics:
When I first came to town,
They called me the ro-ving je-wel;
Now they've changed their tune,
They call me Ka-ty Cru-el,
Oh that I was where I would be,
Then I would be where I am not,
Here I am where I must be,
Go where I would, I can-not,
When I first came to town,
They brought me the bot-tles plen-ty;
Now they've changed their tune,
They bring me the bot-tles emp-ty.

Cross the woods I'll go,
And through the bog-gy mi-re,
Straight-way 'cross the field,
And to my heart's de-si-re.
best wishes,
Anna Dembska
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