The lyrics to this gorgeous song are based on a poem written by James Weldon Johnson called “The Gift to Sing.” I agree with Johnson that facing uncertainty and fear with a song is the best philosophy! Johnson is also remembered for writing the lyrics to “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” known as the Black national anthem.
Texas composer Reginal Wright was commissioned to compose this transcendent piece in 2021. It is performed by a virtual choir consortium including singers from Cross Timbers Civic Chorale, Mansfield High School, Tarleton State University, The University of Central Missouri, The University of North Texas Choir and SA Chorale, The University of Texas at Arlington, and The Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy.
The Gift to Sing
Sometimes the mist overhangs my path,
And blackening clouds about me cling;
But, oh, I have a magic way
To turn the gloom to cheerful day—
I softly sing.
And if the way grows darker still,
Shadowed by Sorrow’s somber wing,
With glad defiance in my throat,
I pierce the darkness with a note,
And sing, and sing.
I brood not over the broken past,
Nor dread whatever time may bring;
No nights are dark, no days are long,
While in my heart there swells a song,
And I can sing.
-James Weldon Johnson