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Wayfaring Stranger 

VOICING: SATB a cappella 


DIFFICULTY: medium easy


TONE: longing




GENERAL: Arranged for and premiered by Covenant Christian High School Chamber Chorus, Germany & Austria Concert Tour (Indiana, 2019)


This arrangement may be freely performed with acknowledgment to the arranger. Contact Daniel Watson Music LLC to inform of your performance. 

TEXT: ​Traditional

Wayfaring Stranger


I'm just a poor wayfaring stranger

Traveling through this world of woe. 

There is no sickness, no toil, no danger

In that bright land to which I go.


I'm going there to see my father,

I’m going there no more to roam.

I’m only going over Jordan, 

I’m only going over home. 


I know dark clouds will gather 'round me,

I know my way is rough and steep;

But golden fields lie out before me

Where God’s redeemed shall ever sleep.


I’m going there to see the saved ones 

Who passed before me one by one,

I’m only going over Jordan, 

I’m only going over home.


I’ll soon be free of every trial

My body sleep in the church yard;

I’ll drop the cross of selfdenial 

And enter on my great reward.


I’m going there to see my Savior,

To sing His praise forever more. 

I’m only going over Jordan, 

I’m only going over home.

Note from the Composer

This traditional American folk song has beautifully haunted ears since its first publishing of English lyrics in the Christian Songster in 1858. Many lyric variations exist,  all of which describe the adversity and grief in the singer’s life. The tune dates back even further to 1666, composed by Paul Gerhardt, a German composer of hymns. The music has a lingering and wandering quality due to the hovering around the fifth scale degree and the lack of a leading tone. This short strophic arrangement of only 16 measures of music makes it easy to learn, memorize, and perform. Vocal lines shift from unison to harmony to highlight the individual and communal challenges described in the text. Consider alternating unison sections between soloists, semi-chorus, and full chorus in performance. Instrumental obligato could be added between each verse and/or with the vocal lines.  

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