Acclaimed Composer and Arranger Stacey Gibbs Adapts Song for UOlivet Singers to Premiere
Members of The University of Olivet Chamber Singers Choir had the thrill of a lifetime when they collaborated with acclaimed and highly sought-after composer and arranger Stacey V. Gibbs on the spiritual “Done Made My Vow.” Gibbs adapted the music that dates back to 1898 specifically for the UOlivet choir to sing and debut.
Gibbs is an accomplished composer and arranger and has over 200 published arrangements. His music was featured at the 57th Inaugural Service for former President Barack Obama, and his arrangement of “Go, Tell It on the Mountain,” performed by True Accord, was ranked fifth on Billboard Classical and first on Amazon Classical Music, to list just a few of his musical achievements.
Choir Director Joel Moore met Gibbs at the Detroit Spiritual Festival early in their careers. Moore said, “He and I quickly developed a tremendous respect for each other.”
The two kept in touch over the years, and in 2023, they came up with the idea of Gibbs writing an arrangement for the UOlivet Chamber Singers.
“We discussed several titles, and eventually, Stacey suggested ‘Done Made My Vow,’ a spiritual I had never heard of before. He said that he had a lot of great ideas for the piece. Consequently, because I know of his great work and trust him, I gave him the green light to run with it,” said Moore. “He created the initial product and then allowed the students, assistant choir director Monty Bishop, and me to be creative with the final product. The students were excited.”
This new “Done Made My Vow” arrangement is a beautifully chilling, haunting spiritual and features three student soloists, Jalayna Porter, Carly Braginton and Samuel Akapo.
Porter said, “When I was considered for the solo, I was extremely excited and a little fanned out because of whose piece it was. I have been a fan of Stacey Gibbs and his work for as long as I’ve been performing choral music, and I was extremely honored to be essentially the first to have the solo of this special piece.”
The Chamber Singers premiered “Done Made My Vow” at the Fall Choral Showcase. To make an already memorable night even more special for the students, Gibbs was in the audience to hear his arrangement sung by Uolivet students.
Braginton said, “It was especially exciting to perform this piece because our voices would be published for all to hear on music purchasing websites. Stacey Gibbs knew what our choir was like and curated this song to our group and our sound, which I loved even more. It will be an experience that I will talk about for years to come.”
Reflecting on the experience, Moore said, “First and foremost, I hope this was a powerful learning experience for our current students. That must be the most important reason behind anything we do in the choral program.”
While performing a spiritual arranged by someone as renowned as Stacey Gibbs is an exciting and fun experience, students realize it is more than that.
Akapo said, “I think this is a big step for the choir in terms of music. Having a great and nationwide composer like Stacy Gibbs entrust our choir to premiere one of his pieces is a great achievement for the choir. It also helps the choir grow in a way that we all know it’s capable of by singing difficult pieces like this.”
“I hope that this brings excitement to the Olivet community about the great things that are happening in the music program. This is a piece of music that will be performed around the world by hundreds and maybe thousands of choirs,” Moore remarked. “Every time choirs open this piece of music, they will see the dedication to The University of Olivet choral program, further validating the wonderful tradition that we have here in the UOlivet Choral Program.”
Listen to The University of Olivet Chamber Singers perform “Done Made My Vow” here.
Learn more about The University of Olivet by contacting the Office of Admission at admissions@UOlivet.edu or 269-749-7635.