Composer — Ivor Martin Voicing + performing forces —Treble Unison Call Number — 4069 Level — Easy
The Vagabond by Ivor Martin is a beautiful unison composition perfect for a young children's choir. It's lyrical, beautifully written melodic lines (and equally beautiful piano accompaniment) tell the story of a vagabond who wanders from place to place with no place to call home. This does not make him unhappy however, as this is the life he loves to lead. It is the people that he crosses paths with and are touched by his spirit that are sad when he must depart, a-wandering forever more... This is a perfect song for any developing children's choir: secular in nature, with a most beautiful melody and text, written perfectly to sit in children's head voices.
Laudibus in Sanctis is a kaleidoscopic setting of Psalm 150 by the Latvian composer Uģis Prauliņš. As the resident composer of Edmonton’s professional choir Pro Coro Canada, it’s no surprise that Prauliņš likes to push the choral medium to a new level! Laudibus in Sanctis is almost symphonic in its choral writing, with independent voices intricately weaving together to create a complex texture. The music is eclectic, showing influences not only of Gregorian chant and Renaissance polyphony, but also modern rock music. The final Hallelujah section is powerful and emotional, building in intensity for nearly two minutes towards an ecstatic final cadence. If this all sounds familiar, it’s because you may have already heard this piece! It was masterfully performed at Edmonton’s Winspear Centre by the National Youth Choir of Canada, with conductor Michael Zaugg, as part of Podium 2016.
Composer -- R. Murray Schafer Voicing + performing forces — SATB Call Number — 4207 Level — Medium
Epitaph for Moonlight by R. Murray Shafer is an excellent choice for so many different reasons. Are you looking for something Canadian? Want to explore more unusual elements of compositional style and/or notation while still allowing your group to retain some sort of toehold in the familiar? Want to have a teaching score (in this case, intervals as well as independence of voices) We programmed this piece in our first concert of the year on the theme of “Light”, but it could just as easily have been part of concert #2: “Dark”. While written for a youth choir, it was ideally challenging for an auditioned community group of a wide range of experience and abilities.
Composer — John Rutter Voicing + performing forces — Treble unison and 2 part Call Number — 4887 Level — Easy
Magical Kingdom is a charming, high quality contemporary piece about the lands where dreams come true. Children will embrace the theme of imagination, wonder, and make believe. Opportunities for learning and exploring storytelling, creative expression, diction, dynamics, and style are abundant. Although it is listed as two part, the majority is unison and the harmony is fairly simple. Highly Recommended for upper elementary and junior high treble choirs!
Composer — Traditional Tamil Song Arranger — Arranged by Stephen Hatfield Voicing + performing forces — Treble or Mixed Voices Call Number — 4134 Level — Easy/Medium
The Stephen Hatfield setting of Ödi Ödi - a Tamil folksong - is a breath of fresh air, and also arranged by a Canadian! Using contrasting groupings in 7/8 time to juxtapose upper and lower voices, the composer has the lower group singing almost entirely in 2+2+3, while the higher voices are 3+2+2. The pronunciation guide is clear for both those familiar with IPA and those needing some explanation. Our choir is mixed voices, but the setting is equally suited to treble ensemble. The text is a saying or proverb that lends itself well to themes such as possibility, light, insight or growth: “Untold millions of people run and run, constantly seeking, grow desperate and die looking for the light that is within them.”
Composer — Traditional Shaker Tune Arranger — Arranged and Adapted with additional lyrics by Rollo Dilworth Voicing + performing forces — SATB (with minimal divisi), accompanied Call Number — 4896 Level — Easy/Medium
Rollo Dilworth's The Gift to be Free is a great piece to start the year with a mixed choir. The melody is familiar to most and provides an opportunity to teach phrasing and restraint. In his arrangement, Dilworth has added gospel-style harmonies the gives choristers the opportunity to learn about stylistic colour. While the piece is rhythmically simple, there are great teaching opportunities related to precision and moments of silence. My choir has a lot of beginner singers in it and this piece has been incredibly unifying. This is a great piece for teaching choristers how to listen and feel in harmony and time simply.
This is a lovely setting of a folk song, including 4-part canon in one section; set In Hebrew and English; very lyrical piano writing and a wonderful (optional) flute part. We (Excentrica and Excentrica Women's Workshop Chorus) used it for Christmas and it could fit many situations. Easy for an accomplished chorus; a reasonable challenge and very satisfying in effect for singers with less experience; text and music overall very moving. [e – e’] range, aeolian mode (natural minor).
Composer — Daniel E. Gawthrop Voicing + performing forces — SATB/a cappella Call Number — 4151 Level — Easy/Medium
“Sing Me to Heaven” is one of my all-time favourite mixed choir selections. Not really for beginning choir, it is definitely accessible by more mature, experienced high school choral groups. The text speaks to the power of music and the composer reflects on how we seek solace in music during the various chapters of our lives (“If you would comfort me, sing me a lullaby…. if you would win my heart, sing me a love song…. if you would mourn me, sing me a requiem…”). The melodies are accompanied by delicious harmonies and there are many opportunities to work on phrasing and rubato. High school conductors are encouraged to seek out this piece, dig deep, and enjoy!
Composer — Eric Whitacre Voicing + performance forces — SATB and piano Call number — 5133 Level — Difficult
Eric Whitacre's "little man in a hurry," with text by E.E. Cummings, is a fast-paced, driving piece for SATB + piano that depicts the hustle and bustle by big city living. Have you been looking for a part-reading and rhythmic challenge for your choir? Look no further. Whitacre perfectly balances "oven-mit" cluster harmonies and numerous metres (4/4, 9/8, 7/8, 11/8!) with a gorgeous "teneramente" middle section.
Borrow Whitacre's "little man in a hurry" from the Choir Alberta library today!