“Were You There” is a nineteenth-century African-American spiritual that likely predates the American Civil War, and may have roots in a folk hymn known in Tennessee as “Have You Heard How They Crucified My Lord?” It was first published in William Eleazar Barton’s 1899 Old Plantation Hymns; and in 1940, it was included in the hymnal of the Episcopal Church with harmonization by C. Winfred Douglas, making it the first spiritual to be included in any major American hymnal.
This arrangement evokes the call-and-response tradition of the spiritual, and features solo trumpet answered by low brass in the introduction and first stanza, solo trombone/low brass trio in the second stanza, and full ensemble in the final stanza. Although appropriate for use throughout the year, it is particularly fitting for performance on Good Friday, Holy Saturday (Easter Vigil) and Easter sunrise services.
Score, parts (Bb tpt. 1, Bb tpt. 2, F horn, tbn, tuba) — $12.99