The Music of Elizabeth Alexander

I'll Go Alone

An affirmation of faith during difficult times

Words by Evelyn K. Dudley

A powerful reflection on contemplation and individual resolve, this song blends poet Evelyn Dudley’s Southern tenacity and hardy faith with composer Elizabeth Alexander’s Appalachian roots and musical vision. The lyric’s determined refrain, “I’ll go alone if I have to,” speaks to the loneliness and challenge of the less traveled road.

There are short, prominent solos in all voice parts. Ensembles may choose to feature 3-4 singers or to distribute solos among a dozen or more soloists.

Note: I’ll Go Alone was originally published under the title The Journey.

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Composer Notes

Composer Notes

Commissioned as a tribute to the life and work of Coretta Scott King, this song gives musical voice to the words of Evelyn K. Dudley, one of Mrs. King’s caregivers during her last months. Rather than placing the accomplishments of a single individual on a pedestal, Dudley’s writing speaks to the challenges of any life lived with integrity – by the powerful as well as the disinherited.


I’ll go alone if I have to.

If you’re behind me when I begin this journey, stay there, for you will only hinder me –
I’ll go alone if I have to.

My footprints will vanish from this trail someday,
but the seeds that I sow will remain and grow.
The fragrance from the fruit that is borne will draw those who hunger and thirst,
those who seek God in Spirit and Truth –
I’ll go alone if I have to.

For at the end of this journey waits a festive table filled
with blessings and prayers that I prayed and had forgotten.
Have your fill of these blessings!

Oh, I am tired from the journey, and Jesus bids me rest,
and I will sit on the porch of the kingdom,
and realize the destination was no more important than the journey.

I’ll go alone if I have to. On this journey, I’ll go alone.

Evelyn K. Dudley
Adapted by Elizabeth Alexander
© 1998 by Evelyn K. Dudley



Premiere: Murray State University Concert Choir / Bradley Almquist. Athena Music Festival (Murray, KY)
Bethel College Concert Choir / Jeshua Franklin (Mishawaka, IN)
Clemson University SINGERS / Justin W Durham (Clemson, SC)
Collegiate Chorale of Luther College / Jennaya Robison (Decorah, IA)

Premiere: Cincinnati Men’s Chorus / Patrick O Coyle (Cincinnati, OH)
Schola Cantorum on Hudson / Deborah Simpkin King (Montclair, NJ)
Cincinnati Men’s Chorus / Patrick O Coyle
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Cincinnati, OH)
GALA Choruses Festival 2008 (Miami, FL)

Premiere: Luther College Aurora / Emily Ellsworth. ACDA North Central Division Conference (Milwaukee, WI)