Psalm 103:1-5, 20-22
Preface of the Epiphany
PRAYER (traditional language)
God our strong deliverer, whose Name is blest for the gifts of grace given to Harry Thacker Burleigh to gather and preserve the good heritage of African-American music and to lift up in song the struggles of his people: Let that Spirit of love which spurred him draw us also to join hands throughout the earth in Christ’s one great fellowship of love; through the same Jesus Christ, who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
PRAYER (contemporary language)
God our strong deliverer, we bless your Name for the gifts of grace given to Harry Thacker Burleigh to gather and preserve the good heritage of African-American music and to lift up in song the struggles of his people. Let that Spirit of love which spurred him draw us also to join hands throughout the earth in Christ’s one great fellowship of love; through the same Jesus Christ, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
This commemoration was approved provisionally at General Convention, 2009.
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Last updated: 20 August 2009
HARRY THACKER BURLIEGH
COMPOSER, 11 Sept. 1949
Henry "Harry" Thacker Burleigh (December 2, 1866 – December 12, 1949), a baritone, was an African American classical composer, arranger, and professional singer.
In 1894, he became a soloist for St. George's Episcopal church in New York City. There was opposition to hiring Burleigh at the all-white church from some parishioners, because of his race, at a time when other white New York Episcopal churches were forbidding black people to worship. J. P. Morgan, a member of St. George's at that time, cast the deciding vote to hire Burleigh. In spite of the initial problems obtaining the appointment, Burleigh became close to many of the members during his long tenure as a soloist at the church.
Burleigh also made the first formal orchestral arrangements for more than 100 Negro spirituals, including Nobody Knows (the Trouble I've Seen). Burleigh's best-known compositions are his arrangements of these spirituals, as art songs. They were so popular during the late 1910s and 1920s, that almost no vocal recitalist gave a concert in a major city without occasionally singing them. In many ways, the popularity of Burleigh's settings contributed to an explosion of popularity for the genre during the 1920s. Through the 1920s and 1930s, Burleigh continued to promote the spirituals through publications, lectures, and arrangements. His life-long advocacy for the spiritual eclipsed his singing career, and his arrangements of art songs.
He was the first black composer to be instrumental in the development of a characteristically American music and he helped to make black music available to classically-trained artists both by introducing them to the music and by arranging the music in a more classical form.
(more from Wikipedia)