Arranger ALLEN, FRED
Voicing/Instrument CONCERT BAND
Publisher TRN MUSIC PUBLISHER,INC
(Publisher Grade 3)
Were You There is an example of African-American spiritual songs from the 19th century. The melody possesses a wide range of an octave and a fourth, and is pentatonic except for one note in the final phrase. The text of the song, through several verses, asks the listener to witness the events surrounding the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
This setting was commissioned, and by way of dedication, a family surname is captured rhythmically throughout the piece, often resulting in syncopation. The piece is contemplative in nature, reflecting the questioning text.
Stylistically, a broad legato style is appropriate.