Total Praise is 20 years old this year. Based on Psalm 121, the piece was written by Richard Smallwood, an alumnus of Howard University. It has been sung by choirs and soloists the world over. It was recently heard on the live broadcast, sung by a historic Black Roman Catholic Church choir, on the White House lawn for Pope Francis. Tomorrow Total Praise takes center stage at the National Cathedral during the installation of the Rt Revd Michael Curry as the next presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
According to an article by Patrick McCoy at examiner.com, Total Praise will be sung by the Gospel Choir of St Thomas Episcopal Church in Philadelphia PA. St Thomas is the first Black Episcopal Church in the US. The Gospel Choir is directed by Walter Blocker. They will sing Total Praise as a choral response following the reading of the Gospel.
I searched for a video recording of the St Thomas Gospel Choir singing Total Praise, but was unsuccessful. You may get a feel for the song and then be able to imagine it ringing through the expanse of the nave of the National Cathedral from this video of the Howard University Gospel Choir singing at Georgetown University’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Week.
The main image is from the St Thomas Episcopal Church, Philadelphia PA.
Please read a more in depth report of this story at examiner.com