We Shall Overcome

arr. Paul Jennings

This powerful old song started life in the late 1800s as the hymn "I Will Overcome Some Day," but soon after the turn of the 20th century it was already acting as an anthem of protest as "We Will Overcome." By the time of the civil rights movement, this song was solidly in the center of it. Sometimes it was a folk song, but often it displayed its gospel roots.

For our arrangement, we provide a four verse, 2-part setting that also works in unison, and is also appropriate as an audience sing-along. It is backed by our great rhythm section and orchestra. We use the best-known verse for the first and last time through, and for verses two and three we use two of the many verses that have been written for the song over the years, and that seem appropriate for performance in our contemporary life. (You will find a unison version as well as a rehearsal track for part 2 on our web site.)

New feature - sign language! - We are very happy to be able to include sign language for the song, "We Shall Overcome." In fact, going forward, whenever you see this icon (left) on the music, it means that particular piece will have sign language included. Especially during times when singing is a problem in class, or when teaching has to occur remotely, this is an excellent way to engage students with music.

Judi Thomas - We would like to say welcome – and thank you! – to Judi Thomas for her creation of these instructional videos. A bit about Judi:

I'm in my 35th year of teaching. I taught at the Mesquite Regional Day School for the Deaf from 1996-2009. Our school housed the elementary deaf education program as well as general education classes with hearing students. I taught all of my deaf ed music classes in sign language. All of our grade level programs were signed by all of our students (deaf and hearing) so no one felt isolated. I also rehearsed with our after school sign choir which was made up of hearing and deaf students.

I retired from full-time teaching in 2015, but I have continued teaching part-time for the past 6 years. I am currently the music teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School where my students range from Pre-K4 through second grade.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.