How can I keep from singing

SATB, a cappella

Starting with the most innocent of beginnings featuring the famous treble melody, the piece builds to a dramatic ending, all the while maintaining the integrity of the original hymn tune.

As sung by University of Michigan Choirs, Eugene Rogers, conductor:

Program Note

This well-known hymn tune arrangement for mixed choir was made for Seattle Pro Musica, and premiered by them in 2005. A popular setting, it has received numerous performances throughout the United States and Europe since that time. It is recorded on the CD American Masterpieces, by Seattle Pro Musica.

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.