Three Amish Teens Sing “The Whippoorwill Song” (I Give You Freedom)

Following our NYC Amish singing post, I came across a few more nice videos of Amish singing. This one features three Amish teens from somewhere in Minnesota.

The song is “The Whippoorwill Song” (aka “I Give You Freedom”), written by Alfred B. Smith in 1975 (lyrics below).

You can hear quite a contrast when it’s just three singing, versus the groups of two dozen or more in the New York videos.

They carry the tune really nicely. The lone boy’s voice is well-balanced by the voices of the two girls.

Phil Sarlo is the one who took the video (I happened to meet Phil in Boyd & Wurthmann last December).

Another lovely song.

Here are the lyrics:

I Give You Freedom (The Whippoorwill Song)

I set the bound’ries of the ocean vast,
Carved out the mountains from the distant past,
Moulded a man from the miry clay,
Breathed in him life, but he went astray.

I own the cattle on a thousand hills,
I write the music for the whippoorwills,
Control the planets with their rocks and rills,
But give you freedom to use your own will.
And if you want Me to, I’ll make you whole,
I’ll only do it tho’ if you say so.
I’ll never force you, for I love you so,
I give you freedom – Is it “yes” or “no”?

I hold the waters in My mighty hand
Spread out the heavens with a single span,
Make all creation tremble at My voice,
But My own children come to Me by choice.

Even the oxen know the master’s stall,
And sheep will recognize the shepherd’s call
I could demand your love – I own you twice,
But only willing love is worth the price!

My holy word now I give to you,
As a shining lamp to guide you through,
My yoke is easy and My burden is light,
Keep looking up, your Heavenly home’s in sight.

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    1. Lucinda

      Not in Unison

      I was interested to note that the youth sing in harmony. I’d gotten the impression that Amish singing was always in unison.

      Eric, can you tell us if this is a higher group, so the singing is less traditional? Or is the unison singing only in church? Are these unbaptized youth? (I notice that they agreed to be filmed.)

      It’s lovely, in either case.

      1. Well there is traditional church singing from the Ausbund hymnal, which is done in its own style in unison, and then there is multi-part singing of songs, both in English and in German, at youth gatherings, after breakfast or evenings with the family, or on other occasions. Many Amish sing the second type so these are not necessarily especially progressive Amish though they could be; by their clothing and by doing the video I would guess they are at least “middle-of-the-road” to progressive.

        1. Lucinda

          Thanks, Erik. Do they learn the multi-part singing from formal teaching? books? or by ear?

          1. Lucinda

            How old are the youth? Are they siblings?

            1. Lucinda I’m not sure about ages but Phil says that yes they are siblings.

    2. Rozy

      New to me

      I’ve never heard that song before–it is totally lovely! Thanks for sharing.

    3. Maureen


      Hi, like many around the world I’m self isolating in the UK. This was so beautiful and calming in all this crazy chaos. Thank you for sharing and making a better day.

      1. I was hoping it would have that effect…I am trying to share some posts like this in addition to the coverage of “more serious” stuff. Take good care and have a great day Maureen.

    4. Lorna Klotzbach

      The Whippoorwill Song

      That was lovely. Thank you for sharing it. I rarely get to hear Amish, even though I am often with Amish people…I was at the top of a hill in a father’s shop when one day I heard the daughters “belting out” some tunes in German as they hung out the laundry at the bottom of the hill. It was joyous and free and uncontrived since they had no knowledge of an audience. I really enjoyed it.

    5. Mary Ann) COOPER

      Whipperwill song

      Absolutely beautiful could listen over and over. Well done.

    6. Angel

      excellent clean song !

      excellent clean song !

    7. Angel


      God miracle .

    8. Debbie

      I would like to hear this...

      I don’t see a link to click on to hear this. Is there something you could do on your end? Ty.

      1. Debbie here is the direct link to the video on Youtube:

        If it’s not appearing for you here, you might try simply refreshing the page (if the connection happens to be slow it might not load all elements), or try another browser.

        1. Debbie

          Enjoyed the song

          Thank you, Eric. I almost missed this post! My phone is old & outdated, but another time u were able to fix something from your end that gave me an arrow to click on. Thanks again.

    9. Liz Bourgeois

      Singing trio

      The three Amish teens that sang in this video sound so lovely. It’s quite amazing that their harmony seems so effortless and the lyrics are beautiful. Thank you for sharing this!

      1. Erik Wesner

        Glad you liked it! Listening to these songs always puts me in a different frame of mind.