Best Easter songs for gospel choir

Great gospel songs for your choir to do this Easter

(Photo is of a Russian resurrection icon. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

(Photo is of a Russian resurrection icon. Courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

For many Christians, Easter is the most celebrated day on the religious calendar.

Easter music carries messages of the greatness of God’s love for us, the depth of the sacrifice that was made for us, and the victory over sin and death that is available to us through Jesus Christ.

At Easter time, most choir directors want to prepare special music and put on one of their best choir presentations for the year.

Here are suggestions for some of the best gospel choir songs for celebrating Easter.

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Behold the Lamb of God

by the Indiana State Mass Choir



“Behold the Lamb of God
Behold the Lamb of God”
A beautiful, reverent song that would also work for Palm Sunday.Tempo: Slow
Key: AbLink: Lyrics and chords for Behold the Lamb of God

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 3/5
  • For musicians: 3/5

Lead singer required? Yes.

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The Blood Will Never Lose its Power

by Andrae Crouch



“It reaches to the highest mountain
And it flows to the lowest valley
The blood that gives me strength from day to day
It will never lose its power”
This one is a classic, both for choirs and for congregational singing. Everyone loves the rousing chorus. Did you know that Andrae Crouch was only 15 years old when he wrote this?Tempo: Moderate
Key: AbLinks:

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 2/5
  • For musicians: 2/5

Lead singer required? There is a lead part, but one choir I direct just has everyone sing the lead verse together in unison.

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Calvary

by Richard Smallwood



“Surely
He died on Calvary”
A powerful song, using a blues feel to convey the intensity of the crucifixion. And the interplay between the lead singer and the choir is very nice. This song is also great for Good Friday.It’s a challenging song, though. If you plan to sing this one for Easter or Good Friday, start rehearsing it well in advance.Tempo: Slow, but with a strong beat
Key: Starts in G minor, then moves to A minor, then Bb minor

Links:

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Celebrate (He Lives)

by Fred Hammond



“He lives, He lives,
Christ has risen just like He said
The Lord and Savior’s no longer dead”
This is written as a solo song, but I think it works great with a small choir. I taught it to my own choir for Easter one year. We sang the lead verses with the whole choir in unison and they sounded great. It takes some practice to get everybody to do the rhythm together precisely, but it was worth it.Tempo: Moderately slow, but with a strong beat
Key: AmResource links:

  • Lyrics for Celebrate
  • Chords for Celebrate
  • Sheet music for Celebrate
  • Accompaniment track (on CD) for Celebrate
  • Downloadable instrumental version of Celebrate. This one is not really intended to be an accompaniment track, so if you use it that way the singers will have some competition from a saxophone playing the melody.

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 3 / 5
  • For musicians: 3 / 5

Lead singer required? It depends on how you do it.

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Christ Did It All

by Hezekiah Walker

This is the version of “Christ Did It All” that they did on their second album. The version on their Morehouse College album is better known, but this one is slower and has more lyrics, lyrics that specifically talk about the crucifixion and the resurrection.

Tempo: Moderate
Key: Ab

Difficulty level:

    • For singers: 2/5
    • For musicians: 2/5

Lead singer required? Yes

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Don’t Cry

Kirk Franklin



“Don’t cry
Dry your eyes
He’s not dead”
A very dramatic song with a Smallwood-esque feel. If you’re planning to do two songs, don’t make this one the first one, keep it for the end.Tempo: Slow
Key: Bb, but parts of it feel like they’re pulling you toward Db.Link: Lyrics to Don’t Cry
Link: Chords for Don’t Cry
Link: Sheet music for Don’t Cry from musicnotes.comPractice tracks are available from ChoirParts.com — Soprano, Alto, and Tenor parts for Don’t Cry

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 3.5/5
  • For musicians: 3.5/5

Lead singer required? No

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He Got Up

by Edwin Hawkins

“Death, where is your sting?
Sting, where is your grave?
Grave, where is your victory?”
This is a short one, but it could be good for praise & worship time on Easter Sunday, for a less-experienced choir (done in unison, perhaps), or as a prelude before a longer song.Tempo: Fast
Key: EbDifficulty level:

  • For singers: 3/5
  • For musicians: 2/5

Lead singer required? No

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He’s Alive

by Michael Mindingall

“He’s alive, Jesus is alive . . .

How, you say, I know He’s still alive?
He hung His head, then bled and died
But He rose on the third day, and old death just couldn’t keep Him in the grave
Yes, He rose with all power in His hands”

A powerful a cappella number. Start rehearsing this one early if you’re going to sing it.

The album that this song is featured on, Michael Mindingall’s Communion, is out of print, but you can sometimes get it from third parties at Amazon. Last time I checked, they were asking $40.00 for it.

Tempo: Moderate
Key: Gm (at least that’s the way it sounds on the YouTube video)

ChoirParts.com has practice tracks for this one — Soprano, Alto, and Tenor parts for He’s Alive

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 4/5
  • For musicians: N/A

Lead singer required? No

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His Blood Still Works

Vashawn Mitchell



“His blood still works and I’m glad to report that it
Never lost its power
Yes, it works, I’ve been redeemed
By the blood of the Lamb”
A song of personal testimony. Contemporary sounding, but with a strong gospel feel.Tempo: Slow
Key: Ab, then A, then BbResource links:

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 3 / 5
  • For musicians: 2 / 5

Lead singer required? Yes

 

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I See a Crimson Stream of Blood

by the P.A.W. Mass Choir



“I see a crimson stream of blood
It flows from Calvary
Its waves that reach the throne of God
Are sweeping over me”
This is one of my very favorites. An uplifting contemporary choir arrangement of the great hymn by G. T. Haywood. This one is also appropriate for Good Friday.Tempo: Moderate
Key: AbI couldn’t find the lyrics to the choir version online, but here are the lyrics to the original hymn: I See a Crimson Stream of Blood.

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 3/5
  • For musicians: 4/5

Lead singer required? No

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I’m a Newborn Soul

by Hezekiah Walker



“Just because He died for me
Shed His precious blood on Calvary
I’m newborn soul, I’m a newborn soul, soul
Today I’m free, right now I’m free”
A very contemporary sound. This one would be a great choice for a youth choir.Tempo: Fast
Key: DbLink: Lyrics to I’m a Newborn Soul
Link: Chords for I’m a Newborn Soul

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 3/5
  • For musicians: 4/5

Lead singer required? No

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Jesus Lives in Me

written by John P. Kee


“Yes, yes,
I’ve been truly blessed
Jesus lives in me”
I love this upbeat optimistic song for Easter. And the interplay between the lead and the choir is fun. One of John P. Kee’s best pieces of writing.Tempo: Fast
Key: In the video below, it’s sounding in D. I don’t have the album any more, so I can’t confirm whether that’s the correct key.Difficulty level:

    • For singers: 3/5
    • For musicians: 3/5

Lead singer required? Yes

This song was done on an Edwin Hawkins workshop album, but Kee does the lead and is the driving force on the song.

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Just for Me (James Moore)

by James Moore



They crucified my Savior
Crucified my Savior
One day on Calvary
They laid Him in the cold ground
Death could not hold Him down
He did it just for me
This song was written by someone I know personally!Bishop John Morris from Los Angeles. I grew up singing it, but I hadn’t included it on this page before because I thought it couldn’t be found anywhere. The John Morris version isn’t available any more.But when a commenter (thank you, Reginald Wright!) asked about the song, I did some more research, and it turns out that it was also done on an album by Rev. James Moore. They changed a few words on the chorus — they say “one day on Calvary” instead of “on lonesome Calvary” the way Bishop Morris does it — but it’s the same song.So glad to be able to include this one!

Tempo: Moderate
Key: Ab

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 2/5
  • For musicians: 2/5

Lead singer required? Yes

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Just for Me (Donnie McClurkin)

by Donnie McClurkin



“Just for me, just for me
Jesus came and did it just for me”
A beautiful, worshipful song. This one relies heavily on the lead singer; the choir would be providing background vocals.Tempo: Slow
Key: FResource links:

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 3.5 / 5
  • For musicians: 3 / 5

Lead singer required? Yes

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Lamb of God

written by Twila Paris



“My Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God”This reverent song is good for either Good Friday or Easter.Tempo: Slow
Key: This recording is in the key of DbLink: Lyrics to Lamb of God
Link: Chords for Lamb of God (chords are in the key of A)

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 3/5
  • For musicians: 2/5

Lead singer required? It depends on how you arrange it.

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Matthew 28

by Donald Lawrence



“Destroy this temple
And in three days I will raise it up”
A very dramatic “concert piece” type of song, taken directly from scripture. This would also be a great song for your Praise Dance Team to perform to!Tempo: Moderate
Key: Db / BbmLinks:

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 5/5
  • For musicians: 4/5

Lead singer required? Not necessarily. On the recording, they have a spoken word lead. Note: If you do it without a lead, your choir will need to REALLY know where they’re going and what comes next on each section.

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(There Is) No Greater Love

by James Cleveland

“Jesus went
To Calvary
To save a wretch
Like you and me
That’s love, that’s love”

An Easter classic. Every choir should know this song.

Make sure you include the added chorus at the end (it’s not on the original recording, but everyone loves it) — “But that’s not how, the story ends, three days later, He rose again, that’s love, that’s love”.

Tempo: Slow
Key: In this video, it’s coming out in the key of B, but the other references I see to it are in Bb.

Links:

Difficulty level:

    • For singers: 2/5
    • For musicians: 2/5

Lead singer required? Yes

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O the Blood

by the New Jersey Mass Choir



“O the blood
Of Jesus
It will never lose its power”
This one is less well known, but I really like it.Tempo: Moderate
Key: CLink: Lyrics to O the Blood

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 3/5
  • For musicians: 3/5

Lead singer required? No

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Precious Is the Blood

by Joe Pace



“Oh, Lamb of God, crucified
For my sins He bled and died
And oh, how precious is the blood”
A very simple but lovely melody that encourages singing along (if you really want the congregation to sing along, though, you would need to make the lyrics available to them). It starts in unison and builds by doing key changes and adding harmonies.Tempo: Slow
Key: Db, then D, Eb, E, F.Links:

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 2/5
  • For musicians: 2/5

Lead singer required? No

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Redeemed

by the LA Mass Choir



“I’ve been redeemed, I’ve been redeemed
Redeemed, redeemed
My soul has been redeemed”
“Redeemed” only has a few words for the choir, and the lead part includes a lot of ad lib. This makes it a very good choice if you need to teach a song quickly.I have this song listed on my page of best “one-rehearsal” choir songs.Tempo: Slow
Key: C

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 1/5
  • For musicians: 2/5

Lead singer required? Yes

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The Resurrection

by Richard Smallwood

You can’t purchase this song because the album is out of print (which is really a shame). So here’s a video of it.

A very dramatic piece. Yes, the melody does sound familiar. Smallwood used the melody from Rachmaninoff’s “Vocalise”.

Key: Eb

Resource links:

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 4/5
  • For musicians: 4/5

Lead singer required? Yes.

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Were You There

Traditional



“Were you there when they crucified my Lord”A classic spiritual. An excellent choice for Good Friday.
It’s often done a cappella.Tempo: Slow
Key: FLinks:

Difficulty level:

  • For singers: 3/5
  • For musicians: It would depend on your arrangement

Lead singer required? No, but sometimes people do feature a soloist.

 

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Poll – Which song is your favorite?

Which of these Easter songs has worked best for your choir (or maybe you just like it the most!)?

 

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Hymns your choir could do for Easter

For some of these you would have to do your own arrangements to make them choir songs. Give it a go!

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Beautiful arrangement of a spiritual

USC Catholic Center Good Friday Choir performs “Were You There”.
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