Tag Archives: #Choir #songs #singing #choral

How to Practise: Kumbaya for 4 Part Choir

Direct Links to the App Store and Google Play:
Available as an App for iPhone and iPad
Available as an App for Android Phones and Tablets

On August 18th 2017 a choir of over 4000 pupils from Years 3 to 7 will be performing this imaginative choir arrangement of Kumbaya with a distinctive ‘Aussie feel’.

For those lucky enough to take part please take note of what your music director, Donna Marwick-Obrien suggests.
The App is designed to help you learn which-ever part you are allocated. I hope you find that when you get together for the concert you will really know your part and have a great time.

The choir needs to sing in 4 parts.

All 4 parts are available on the App therefore you could split your choir as you wish, or even suggest that choristers swop parts occasionally…..so that as many that wish can have a chance to sing the melody.

It could be that your choir is split into 4 groups. In the first two verses, two of the 4 sections could sing the solo (melody) part and then split in Verse 3, so that some carry on with the solo(melody) and others take on the Descant line.

You can choose:

  • To view and hear each part with a beat counter above the notation acting as conductor.
  • Adjust the volume of each part to suit your needs as you learn your part
  • Practise with the full band accompaniment

There are four verses.

Verses 1 and 2 are in three parts:
Part 1 (Solo) : has the recognised melody 
Parts 2 and 3: 
these provide lines which are both harmonic and simulate Aussie rhythms.

Here is the opening of Verse 1:

Here are two examples of the beginning of Verse 2 illustrating how the Harmony parts can be displayed. The volume of the parts can be easily balanced using the available faders. This will help hear each individual part more clearly when you are learning it.

Each Part can be heard on its own even. This is with the band …but they can also practise without the band.

During Verses 3 and 4 Parts 1 , 2 and 3 carry on with  similar lines but now a 4th part enters .

Here is the beginning of Verse 3 showing how the Descant part comes in ..I’ve balanced the volumes so it can be heard…but eventually, when you are ready, the part you are learning can be turned off and you can practise holding the part on your own…This will give you a lot of confidence when you go to the full choir rehearsal/s.

This new part is in some ways a Descant line providing additional harmonic timbres but in a  ‘shouting/ response’ style. This adds another different element and  ‘feel’ to the piece.

Choose a Start Bar to practise from different  places. Also chose an End Bar and set Repeat to practise awkward sections over and over again.

In other words choose whatever combination of practice tools you need.

The effect will be that you will be able to learn your part so well that you can  perform exactly as your conductor wants and really enjoy the performing.

This is the history of Kumbaya.
According to Alpha Dictionaries.com”Kumbaya, my Lord” was first recorded by an out-of-work English professor, Robert Winslow Gordon, in 1927. Gordon went on a search for black spirituals and recorded a song “Come by Here, My Lord”, sung by H. Wylie. The song was sung in Gullah on the islands of South Carolina between Charleston and Beaufort. Gullah is the Creole language featured in the Uncle Remus series of Joel Chandler Harris and the Walt Disney production of Song of the South. “Come by here, my Lord” in Gullah is “Kum by (h)yuh, my lawd”

American missionaries took the song to Angola after its publication in the 1930s, where its origins were forgotten. In the late 1950s the song was rediscovered in Angola and returned to North American where it swept the campfire circuit as a beautiful and mysterious religious lyric. That is why the song is associated with Angola in many current printed versions.

In the US, however, the song was associated with Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other campers sitting around a campfire in perfect harmony.

Direct Links to the App Store and Google Play:
Available as an App for iPhone and iPad
Available as an App for Android Phones and Tablets