Bound For the Promised Land


Words and Music by Matilda H. Durham
Fiddle tunes traditional American
TTBB (div), TB soli/a cappella
Published by Mark Foster Music Company

Written for Dr. Eugene Rogers and the University of Michigan Men’s Glee Club for a concert called “Heartland.” This piece evokes the travelers of the Western Expansion and their vision of the “promised land” on the Pacific coast. It uses three 19th-century melodies: the shape-note hymn “Promised Land” and two Appalachian fiddle tunes, “Santa Anna’s Retreat” and “The Temperance Reel.” The fiddle tunes are sung using the Celtic phenomenon called mouth music or lilting, portraying the fiddlers that kept up the spirits of the settlers on the long, dusty road.

SKU: HL 35030210 Categories: ,


1. On Jordan’s stormy banks I stand,
And cast a wistful eye
To Canaan’s fair and happy land,
Where my possessions lie.

I am bound for the promised land,
I am bound for the promised land,
Oh who will come and go with me?
I am bound for the promised land.

2. Oh, the transporting rapt’rous scene
That rises to my sight
Sweet fields arrayed in living green
And rivers of delight.


3. Filled with delight, my raptured soul
Would here no longer stay,
Tho’ Jordan’s waves around me roll,
Fearless I’d launch away.



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