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Band Notice: Wayfaring Stranger

As summer ends, the leaves change colors, and cool air makes its way through the land, the civic band plays a variety of tunes fitting for the time. Sure, R.B. Hall is great in June, and J.P. Sousa is acceptable to even French Horn players on July 4th, but limiting yourself to only marches and pop tunes would drive any band crazy. That’s why Reg puts together a collection of slightly slower, more musical pieces for the autumn months.

One of these tunes is the traditional folk song Wayfaring Stranger. Legend says that the tune was written by Bishop Richard Allen, founder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, on his death bed in 1831. (see The Hymn 81:2 pg. 101) By the 1880s it began appearing in various church hymnals. In the nineteen thirties and forties the song was popularized by Burl Ives (1909-1995) through his radio program of the same name, and recorded several times by him. Actually, Ives got his radio start at WBOW in Terre Haute, Indiana while a student at Indiana State Teachers College (today Indiana State University).

First Line:

I am a poor wayfaring stranger
A-trav’ling through this land of woe.
And there’s no sickness, toil or danger
In that bright world to which I go.
I’m going home to see my father (mother, sister, brother etc.)
I’m going there no more to roam;
I’m just a-going over Jordan
I’m just a-going over home.

The civic band is playing a arrangement by Ernest Lubin (1916-1977) from the Ives era. The publisher was pretty humble about the piece, calling it “one of the most beautiful things ever published.”

Wayfaring Stranger Ad

I’m not gonna lie, I’m not convinced. But for a buck fifty you can’t go wrong, right? However, it really is a great tune. You’ll gonna love it while sitting in your lawn chair and drinking apple cider during the civic band’s concert at Doud’s this October. But for now, check out this recent cover of this tune. Cover of Wayfaring Stranger on You Tube

And remember, there are no strangers on Wednesday night. See you then!

Posted at 9:05 am on August 25th, 2008. RSS Feed

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