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American Festival Series Special Edition: General William Booth Enters Into Heaven

Product Code: 4100009001

American Festival Series Special Edition #1

Poem by Vachel Lindsay
Music by William Himes

Includes accompaniment CD
Dedicated with deepest respect and appreciation to John Gowans upon his election as the 16th General of The Salvation Army.

This unique work for band and narrator (and optional dance troupe, soprano soloist and choir) was written in honor of General John Gowans, the 16th world leader of The Salvation Army and one of its finest orators. This "theater piece" was premiered with the General and Chicago Staff Band in June 12, 1999 at a Festival of Gospel Arts in metropolitan Chicago sponsored by the USA Central Territory.

Program Note:
A dramatic work for narrator and band, inspired by the performance of John Gowans, the 16th General of The Salvation Army. Featuring Vachel Lindsay's immortal poem of 1912, this theater piece is based on the 19th century gospel song, "Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power?"

Note to the Conductor:
Careful consideration of each performance element will help gain an understanding of this piece and its many performance possibilities:

Narrator- Essential to the performance. A comprehensive script is provided which includes rehearsal numbers, dramatic and staging suggestions. Because of the complex nature of the score, this narration should not be attempted without a good microphone and effective amplification.

Band- Also essential for live performance. Although it is possible to use the performance CD accompaniment track provided for live recitation with the recorded performance. This is a challenging and exciting score, abounding in colorful effects and rhythmic interest, requiring a full battery of percussion.

Ballet Sequence- While not essential for performance, there is no question the ballet sequence found in bars 55-132 is a great enhancement to the overall effect. This dance episode can feature any number of dancers dressed in drab costume depicting street people ("drabs from the alleyways and drug fiends pale") who are eventually transformed- in dress and manner- when the music gives clear reference to the song "Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?" beginning at bar 111. Dancers make a quick exit with the sudden change of mood (and reappearance of the narrator) at bar 132.

Optional Cut: The ballet sequence/and interlude can be cut by taking an immediate segue from bar 54 to 132.

Soprano vocal solo- While the solo rendering of the song, "Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power?" would be most effective as a soprano vocal solo, the cued solo line in solo horn and flugel at bar 186 is also quite convincing.

Optional Choir/Audience Participation - An SATB choral part has been provided to accommodate an added enhancement to performance. However, it can also be just as impactful to provide song text in printed program or video media and invite the audience to join in the singing of this familiar tune. (The conductor is reminded of the extended final phrase of the last chorus.)

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