12/28/14 O&A Gospel Sunday: Richard Smallwood



Richard Smallwood is the Black Brahms of Gospel music. His lush orchestrations and choral arrangements are the hallmarks of his signature sound. An accomplished pianist, composer, arranger, vocalist and choral conductor Smallwood graduated cum laude from Howard University with degrees in both vocal performance and piano, and  graduate work in the field of ethnomusicology. He finished his Masters degree in Divinity from Howard University in 2004 and was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2006. 


Smallwood was a member of The Celestials, the first gospel group on Howard University’s campus. The Celestials were the first gospel group to appear at Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival. Smallwood was also a founding member of Howard’s first gospel choir. He formed The Richard Smallwood Singers in 1977 in Washington, DC. 


Total Praise is a masterpiece of songwriting,  Released in 1996 on the Adoration: Live in Atlanta album by Richard Smallwood and Vision it is regarded by many as their favorite gospel choir song ever. The song is in the key of Db. It is written for three-part choir (soprano, alto, and tenor). On the original recording it is accompanied by piano, drums, and string orchestra.

Total Praise


Psalms 8 and Anthem Of Praise are from their 2001 hit CD Persuaded: Live In D.C.  The work was nominated  for a 2001 Grammy Award for  Best Traditional Soul Gospel Performance, and received two Stellar Awards for Traditional CD of the Year and Traditional Choir of the Year.

Psalms 8

Anthem Of Praise (Psalms 150:3-6, Psalms 34:3)” by Richard Smallwood With Vision


 I Love The Love written by Smallwood in 1982 appeared on the  album The Richard Smallwood Singers. Whitney Houston performed it in the 1996 film A Preacher’s Wife and then again in her Classic Whitney Concert Series. The concerts were held at the historic Daughters of the American Revolution Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. on October 3 and 5, 1997. The October 5 performance was broadcast live via HBO, this was Houston’s her third HBO special.

I Love The LordWhitney Houston (Live)

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