Hall Johnson was a noted violinist, conductor and arranger of spirituals. The slave songs and spirituals that he heard his grandmother sing were a catalyst for him founding the Hall Johnson Choir in 1925. The ensemble appeared on Broadway and in movies such as Green Pastures. To quote Eugene Simpson, curator of the Hall Johnson Collection at Rowan University, “Johnson’s entire compositional output was governed by three beliefs: that his role in life was the preservation and propagation of the Negro Spiritual in its authentic form; that the melodies and rhythms of the spiritual and Negro folk song were worthy material for compositional development into art and extended forms and that the spiritual itself is essentially a choral form.” Louise Toppin has received critical acclaim for her operatic, orchestral and oratorio performances both here and abroad. Along with pianist Joseph Joubert, they have undertaken this unique project to present a CD that focuses entirely on Hall Johnson’s solo vocal works. In presenting arrangements both familiar and lesser-known, this collection celebrates the historical importance, innovation and contribution of Johnson as a preserver of the spiritual while acknowledging his influence on subsequent generations of arrangers.