How can I keep from singing, Thomas

SSAA, a capella

A glorious setting of this favorite song. A small group begins the piece singing in unison; the piece builds and builds to the six-part ending.

Program Note

This well-known hymn tune arrangement for women’s voices was made for the 2004 Alliance World Festival of Women’s Singing. That arrangement was premiered at the international festival in the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, sung by a massed choir of 450 singers from around the world. A popular setting, it has received numerous performances throughout the United States and Europe since that time

Notes on preparation and performance

Measures 1-22 may be sung by four soloists or by a semi-choir. It may also be sung by the entire soprano and alto sections. If sung by soloists or semi-choir, it can be effectively sung antiphonally.


My life flows on in endless song above earth’s lamentation,I hear the real, though far-off hymn that hails a new creation. Through all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing, it sounds an echo in my soul. How can I keep from singing? What though the tempest loudly roars, I hear the truth, it liveth. What though the darkness round me close, songs in the night it giveth. No storm can shake my in-most calm, while to that rock I’m clinging. Since love is lord of heav’n and earth, how can I keep from singing! When tyrants tremble as they hear the bells of freedom ringing, when friends rejoice both far and near, how can I keep from singing! To prison cell and dungeon vile our thoughts to them are winging, when friends by shame are undefiled, how can I keep from singing!

Buy this score at Santa Barbara Music Publishing.

This entry was posted in Children's chorus, Choral, Easy, High school, Middle school, SA & SSAA chorus, Sacred, Secular and tagged by Karen P. Thomas. Bookmark the permalink.

About Karen P. Thomas

Karen P. Thomas, composer and conductor, is the Artistic Director and Conductor of the Seattle Pro Musica. Her compositions are performed and broadcast throughout the world, by groups such as The Hilliard Ensemble and the Vocal Consort of Brussels. Her works are published by Lucis Music and Santa Barbara Music Publishing, and have been featured at numerous ACDA and AGO conferences. A prize-winning composer, she has received grants from the NEA, The American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and Meet the Composer, among numerous others. As a conductor, Ms. Thomas has produced nine critically-acclaimed CDs, and received the Margaret Hillis Award for Choral Excellence and the ASCAP-Chorus America Award. She has appeared as guest conductor at international festivals in Europe and North America, and the NPR radio show Saint Paul Sunday. She received the 2012 Outstanding Choral Director Award for Washington State, and currently serves on the boards of the Pacific NW Chapter for the Recording Academy (Grammy), the American Choral Directors Association (NW Division), and the Greater Seattle Choral Consortium.