Soon We Will Be Done
arr. by Kyle Pederson
Notes from his website: To me, spirituals are the most powerful type of music. Spirituals were birthed and rooted in the experience of chattel slavery in the United States—and arose out of, as Arthur C. Jones asserts, "deeply meaningful, archetypically human experiences, relevant not only to the specific circumstances of slavery but also to women and men struggling with issues of justice, freedom, and spiritual wholeness in all times and places.” The original text of Soon ah Will Be Done is as follows: Soon ah will be done ah with the troubles of the world, the troubles of the world, the troubles of the world soon ah will be done ah with the troubles of the world, goin’ home to live with God No more weepin’ and ah wailing, no more weepin’ and ah wailing, no more weepin’ and ah wailing, goin’ home to live with God I want to meet my mother, I want to meet my mother, I want to meet my mother, goin’ home to live with God I want to meet my Jesus, I want to meet my Jesus, I want to meet my Jesus, goin’ home to live with God When I sang this spiritual growing up, I was struck by both the withering sorrow and expectant hope throughout. The melody and emotion has stuck with me since. When approaching my own arrangement, I hoped to honor the voice of the original writers and their experience of slavery, and I also sought to extend a voice to people today who are suffering from injustice, racism, and oppression in multiple forms. I hoped an appropriate way to honor the experience of the original writers might be to invite the contemporary listener to envision and commit to a better, more just world today----a world of inclusion, radical kindness, compassion, love, and grace--a world where we have the courage to champion the inherent dignity and value of all people, a world where we will be done with all the ways we deny a person's worth. A world where "heaven has come to earth.” In this arrangement, spoken word is incorporated throughout, intended to heighten the intensity of the performance, and meant to give a sense of immediacy to the challenge for the choir and audience to work together for justice, equity, and wholeness. Spoken word has often been used as the language of protest—and I include it intentionally as a way of giving voice to the choir members (and listener)—where all can stand in solidarity against oppression and injustice. If desired, choir members are encouraged to write their own spoken word text that speaks to issues of inequity and injustice in their own communities. I am writing this program note not long after George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, MN on May 25, 2020. As a Minneapolis area resident for the past 25 years, I want and need to take a more active role in working towards justice in my community. All proceeds received from the sale and performance of Soon We Will Be Done will be directed to ISAIAH--a multi-racial, state-wide, nonpartisan coalition of faith communities fighting for racial and economic justice in Minnesota. You can read more about the phenomenal work ISAIAH is doing here (https://isaiahmn.org).