The origin of this song is unclear. Dating from around the early 1800's, it is believed that it was first sung by riverboatmen in Virginia. The Shenandoah of the title is the name of an Indian Chief who had a beautiful daughter. The riverboatmen tells the chief of his desire to take the girl far to the west, 'cross the wide Missouri. This folksong, first arranged by John Wilson for choral ensembles and later scored and rearranged by Rick England for string orchestra, begins in a simple, typically open American folk style. Later verses use lush harmonies and complex textures to create a romantic folk song perfect for any concert of American Music.