Joelle Wallach

Firefighters' Prayer

Year: 2001

Duration (in minutes): 5'

Difficulty: Medium (college/community)

Category: choral, larger chamber ensembles - more than 4 players, solo voice(s) with chamber ensemble, solo voice(s) with piano, solo voice(s) with solo instruments, string ensemble, string orchestra, string quartet, string quintet

Instruments: any male voice, any voice, cello, contrabass, harp, piano, viola, violin

Publisher: Joelle Wallach

Publisher website:

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Score PDF: Firefighters-prayer-all-versions.pdf

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Description: On the windshields of fire trucks and firehouse windows around the United States, copies of the traditional Firefighter’s Prayer are glued. For generations, its traditional words have had personal meaning to firefighters across the continent, a core of faith for lives built on daily acts of bravery and heroism. Touched by the traditional words, I found a melody hidden inside the prayer, built on elements of Irish folksongs of loss and longing. In the afterglow of September 11th, the words of The Firefighter’s Prayer are profoundly poignant; and the stark contrast between the prayer and what we know to have been its fulfillment infuses the music with stark dignity and deep lyrical tenderness. The crushing irony is so great that in some New York City firehouses the prayer has been removed, a subtle sign of quiet, communal crises of faith. I wrote Firefighter’s Prayer in several versions: a solo song and a 4-part choral version which can be sung in schools, churches, at memorials or firehouses. The choral setting of The Firefighter’s Prayer hymn also serves as the basis of a larger, dramatic work for orchestra, chorus, tenor solo and speaker, While Hope Remains.The Firefighters' Prayer is available in several settings: SATB or for tenor and piano, for baritone and piano, duet for tenor, baritone and piano; or for baritone and strings, either string quartet and harp, or string orchestra and harp. (All versions are posted above as the score)

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