Monday, December 18, 2017

Go Tell It on the Mountain

Go Tell It on the Mountain

Go Tell it on the Mountain--George Beverly Shea

The Negro Spiritual, "Go Tell it on the Mountain" may not have originated from John Wesley Work Jr., but he's the reason why we sing it every Christmas.  As the son of a church choir director, Work grew up in Nashville loving music.  Even though he earned his Masters in Latin and even though he taught ancient Latin and Greek, his first love was in music and he was the first African-American collector of Negro spirituals.  That was a very daunting task for Work because they were passed down orally from plantation to plantation.  Very few were ever written down.  Work proved up to the challenge publishing his first book, New Jubilee Songs as sung by the Fisk Jubilee singers, in Songs of the American Negro, six years later.  It was his second volume that "Go, Tell it on the Mountain" first appeared.  The original singers of the song fulfilled the same important task the angels gave the shepherds that first Christmas night outside of Bethlehem proclaiming, "That Jesus Christ is Born." 

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