Down to the River to Pray
An a cappella arrangement by Elizabeth Ladizinsky and J.A.C. Redford of the traditional song made popular by the film, O Brother, Where Art Thou.

Duration: 3' 40"
Difficulty: 2/5

Click here to view score.
Text
As I went down to the river to pray,
Studyin’ about that good ol’ way
An’ who shall wear the starry crown,
Good Lord, show me the way.

Oh, sisters, let’s go down,
Let's go down, come on down.
Oh, sisters, let’s go down,
Down to the river to pray.

As I went down to the river to pray,
Studyin’ about that good ol’ way
An’ who shall wear the robe an’ crown,
Good Lord, show me the way.

Oh, brothers, let’s go down,
Let's go down, come on down.
Oh, brothers, let’s go down,
Down to the river to pray.

As I went down to the river to pray,
Studyin’ about that good ol’ way
An’ who shall wear the starry crown,
Good Lord, show me the way.

Oh, fathers, let’s go down,
Let's go down, come on down.
Oh, fathers, let’s go down,
Down to the river to pray.

As I went down to the river to pray,
Studyin’ about that good ol’ way
An’ who shall wear the robe an’ crown,
Good Lord, show me the way.

Oh, mothers, let’s go down,
Come on down, don’t you wanna go down.
Oh, mothers, let’s go down,
Down to the river to pray.

As I went down to the river to pray,
Studyin’ about that good ol’ way
An’ who shall wear the robe an’ crown,
Good Lord, show me the way.

Oh, sinners, let’s go down,
Let's go down, come on down.
Oh, sinners, let’s go down,
Down to the river to pray.

As I went down to the river to pray,
Studyin’ about that good ol’ way
An’ who shall wear the robe an’ crown,
Good Lord, show me the way.
Commission & Performance History
Down to the River to Pray was originally arranged by Elizabeth Ladizinsky for Zephyr: Voices Unbound. This arrangement was adapted and expanded by J.A.C. Redford for a concert of choral music from the movies by the Los Angeles Master Chorale. The new arrangement was premiered at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles on June 7, 2003 with the LAMC under the direction of Grant Gershon. In 2005, the Master Chorale performed it again at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels to benefit the victims of hurricane Katrina. The following year, the arrangement was performed by Grammy Award-winning artists Charles Bruffy and the Kansas City Chorale. Down to the River to Pray was subsequently published by Roger Dean as part of the Prima Cantate Series and has been sung by numerous college and high school choruses throughout the United States. In August 2009, the Kansas City Chorale, led by Charles Bruffy, performed Down to the River to Pray at the Incheon International Choral Festival in South Korea.