Vineyard Spirituals Choir
The Martha’s Vineyard Spirituals Choir rehearses weekly for an hour. New members are welcome. The choir is directed by Jim Thomas, the founder and director of the U.S. Slave Song Project. The Spirituals Choir’s season runs through late August. We sing at libraries, schools, houses of worship, and even outdoor
We rehearse at 6 p.m. every Wednesday afternoon in the Windemere recreation room. It’s most easily reached from the parking area behind Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. This year’s repertoire includes some regulars, like “Where Will I Be When the First Trumpet Sounds?,” “In Bright Mansions Above,” “Rise, Shine, for the Light Is a-Comin’,” “Done Made My Vow to the Lord,” and “Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel?” Others, like “There’s a Meeting Here Tonight” and “Nobody Knows the Trouble I’ve Seen,” are familiar enough, and some are new to most of us, like “It’s Me,” “I’ve Been Toiling at the Hill,” and “A Wheel in a Wheel.”
Singing these songs, and learning more about the enslaved people who created them and kept them alive, is a powerful and transformative experience. Several of these songs are helping me get through the very troubled times we’re in now. People whose situations were far worse and more hopeless sang to make their lives bearable and to imagine a better future.