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"Ride the Chariot" is a traditional Black spiritual that has been arranged for choral performance several times, most notably by William Henry Smith in 1939.[1] It has been in the repertoire of the Virginia Glee Club since the Glee Club 1992-1993 season.

Arrangements Edit

The William Henry Smith arrangement sets "Ride the Chariot" for unaccompanied TTBB with solo men's voice. The arrangement was copyrighted February 23, 1939 and published by Max T. Krone (now Kjos) at Willamette, Illinois.[1] The work is commonly performed by glee clubs, and is especially prominent in the repertoire of the Yale Glee Club and the Yale Alumni Chorus.[2]

Other arrangements known to exist include an arrangement for women's voices by Louisa Burnham, performed at the 2001 Choral Showcase by the Virginia Women's Chorus.

Text Edit

Like many spirituals, "Ride the Chariot" had special meaning both during slavery and the Civil Rights movement. Specifically, during slavery "I'm gonna ride the chariot in the morning" meant "the escape attempt is tomorrow."[3]

I'm gonna ride the chariot in the morning, Lord
I'm gonna ride the chariot in the morning, Lord
I'm gettin' ready for the Judgment Day
I'm waitin' for my chariot 'cause I'm ready to go

Are you ready, my brother?
Are you ready for the journey?
Do you want to see your Jesus
I'm waitin' for my chariot 'cause I'm ready to go

Are you ready, my sister?
Are you ready for the journey?
Do you want to see your Jesus
I'm waitin' for my chariot 'cause I'm ready to go

I never can forget that day
When all my sins were taken away
My feet were snatched from the miry clay
I'll serve my Lord 'til Judgment Day

Virginia Glee Club recordings Edit

References Edit

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