The traditional call-and-response structure calls for a soloist on the text, with everyone singing the ostinato pattern of "Amens," either in unison or harmony. The soloist may apply rhythmic and melodic freedom to the lines. If possible, sing unaccompanied, or use piano, guitars, and/or string bass for accompaniment rather than organ. Everyone but the soloist should sing without a book in front of them!
The arrangement is by Richard Smallwood (b. Washington, D.C., 1948), a composer, arranger, pianist, and innovator in the African American gospel style. Many of his arrangements of gospel hymns appear in Lift Every Voice and Sing (1981). Organized by Smallwood in 1967, the Richard Smallwood Singers have sung and recorded many of his arrangements. He remains their current director. Smallwood has a B.M. degree from Howard University, Washington, DC.
--Psalter Hymnal Handbook, 1987