I arranged a two-part version of the old spiritual, ‘As I Went Down in the River to Pray’ a while ago for a brother-sister duo to whom I teach baritone ukulele, piano and singing. We had to work out a nice a capella version that would be effective but not too difficult to get together as they wanted to sing it at their grandmother’s funeral in under two weeks.
here is what we came up with- As I went Down in the River to Pray
There is close harmony singing, swapping around of parts and a fair amount of ‘oos’. I decided it would be a good idea to have them coming back to unison for a verse in the middle to give them chance to relax and re-group between the harmonies.
I managed to get a recording of them singing it together the other day-
(The recording I did at the time failed, as I didn’t quite manage to press record properly – duh).
From all accounts my star brother-sister act gave a spellbinding performance on the day having learned and memorised it in record time, and not beat each other up too much in rehearsals.