Thursday, September 7, 2017

Youth Coordinator

Kristy Brumfield, Youth Coordinator

Paul Read
Boosey & Hawkes CME
This is a haunting piece based on a poem written by an unknown child in the Terezin Concentration Camp during World War II.  It can be a bit challenging, but worth the extra time and effort for your older children’s choirs. There are beautiful harmonies set to a heavily syncopated accompaniment.  You will find so much joy in teaching this piece!

You Will Be Found
Benjamin Pasek & Justin Paul/arr. Mac Huff
Hal Leonard
This is the power ballad from the hit musical “Dear Evan Hansen”. The message of love and respect for our fellow human beings will resonate with your choirs as they learn this piece.  “You Will Be Found” will make a wonderful spring pop concert closer. Take the time to listen to one of the many recordings already posted on YouTube…you may find that you want to add this one to this year’s library. 

On a Starlit Night
Jill Galina
Shawnee Press
This beautiful partner song arrangement of “Silent Night” paired with an original melody by Jill Galina is simply beautiful for children’s voices.  Using partner songs is such a great way to reinforce harmonization skills, and this one is a crowd pleaser as well! Great for use in church or school, you and your students will be moved by its beauty. 

Julie’s Green Room
This is a Netflix original series that debuted last spring. I have enjoyed using it in my classroom as a tool for teaching musical theater, and have been able to build lessons around each episode.  Each week, a different concept is introduced, and special guest stars from the world of stage and screen visit Julie Andrews and her cast of children’s workshop characters all played by puppets.  Through the use of this series, I’ve taught numerous new vocabulary words as well as musical theater appreciation.  The characters show that each of us has our own gifts and talents to contribute to the body, and how we can all use those talents to work cooperatively for a common goal.  Each episode is roughly 35-40 minutes long, leaving time at the end for discussion and reinforcement of the day’s topic. This is also good to use for substitutes.  Enjoy!

Collegiate Coordinator

Phillip Stockton, Collegiate Coordinator

Lux orta est iusto
SATTB x 8 (40 voice motet)
David Bednall
Self published. Follow the link for information
A few sentences describing why you chose the piece.
I heard this piece on a recording entitled Sudden Light by Delphian Records. I was struck with the complexity of this piece, and the beauty that is created. I would encourage you to look at it for your groups. He also has many other pieces that are beautiful that incorporate organ.

St. Cuthbert (oratorio)
SATB Chorus, S,T,B soli
Will Todd
Tyalgum Press
This is a powerful piece that tells the story of the Northumbrian Saint Cuthbert. It is scored for large orchestra and the voices listed above. There is a recording found on Will Todd’s website. I would encourage you to have a listen.

In His Care-O
SATB divisi
Stacey Gibbs
Santa Barbara Music Publishing
A few sentences describing why you chose the piece.
I like this piece because it embodies the spirit of William Dawson’s arrangement of Care-O, but brings it to the modern choral scene with a vocal jazz feel. It does this without compromising the integrity of the spiritual. This would be  a great piece for a traditional choral group, as well as a piece for a acapella group.

“Set Upon the Rood”
This is a recording by Delphian Records featuring the Choir of Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. This album incorporates ancient instruments in new compositions. In essence, they are creating a new repertoire by combining modern choral writing with ancient instruments with excellent choral singing. It is an intriguing album and I would encourage you to listen to it. It can be found on iTunes.

Lifelong Coordinator

Mark Nabholz, Lifelong Coordinator

I've chosen to highlight three superlative settings by Eric Nelson, Director of Choral Activities at Emory University and conductor of the Atlanta Master Chorale, one of the premiere adult community choral organizations in the country.

When Memory Fades
Arranger: Eric Nelson
Morningstar Music Publishers, MSM-50-8914
Youtube Link:

Nelson's treatment of this graceful tune by Jayne Southwick Cool illuminates the meaning and emotional content of Mary Louise Bringle's rich text. Dealing with one of society's most prevalent end-of-life issues, dementia, this 5-minute work is suitable for either church or concert settings.

When memory fades and recognition falters,
when eyes we love grow dim, and minds, confused,
speak to our souls of love that never alters;
speak to our hearts by pain and fear abused.
O God of life and healing peace, empower us
with patient courage, by your grace infused.

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms
Arranger: Eric Nelson
Morningstar Music Publishers, MSM-50-8970
Youtube Link:

Yes, this is the gospel hymn tune with which you're familiar (SHOWALTER), but Nelson's skillful instrumental writing casts it in an entirely new and refreshing light. His fragmentary inclusion "Amazing Grace" (NEW BRITAIN) adds to the tranquil charm. Suitable for church or concert, approximately 6 minutes.

How Do I Love Thee?
Composer: Eric Nelson
E.C. Schirmer, E.C.1.3375
Youtube Link:

Published in 2014, Nelson's setting features an accompaniment that is supportive of the voices and is at the same time eminently expressive and pianistic. Divisi is limited, and this piece is appropriate for a wide range of ensembles: advanced high school, community, and collegiate choirs will find themselves challenged and gratified by this well-crafted +-7 minute setting of Elizabeth Barrett Browning's famous Sonnet 43.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day’s
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood’s faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

Repertoire Specific Coordinator

Angie Rawls, Repertoire Specific Coordinator

All Creatures Praise Him
SATB with some divisi   accompanied
Mary McDonald
Medallion Music

Pearl Singers sing for the annual Community Thanksgiving Service.  Appropriate text.  This piece lends itself to easy sightreading for the beginning of the year.  It reads easy yet sounds involved and impressive.  Perfect for a community religious service.

Voice Dance
SSAA  a cappella
Greg Jasperse
Shawnee Press

I was looking for a lighter piece to program opposite several heavy pieces.  “Voice Dance” offers some challenging tuning issues, but is very enjoyable for both the singer and the listener.

Lux Aurumque
TTBB    a cappella
Eric Whitacre
Walton Music

The 1st tenors soar and the low basses plummet. The all-male timbre is a refreshing twise for the harmonies that are indicative of Whitacre’s writing.  A challenging yet enjoyable piece.

Contemporary and Commercial Music

Carol Joy Sparkman, Contemporary and Commercial

Killing Me Softly
Arr. Deke Sharon
08747055 Hal Leonard
This is a piece that is accessible and a favorite with my girls. Inf act, they ask to sing it every year. Roberta Flack recorded it in 1973, but it was covered recently by The Fugees. The beautiful solo line is accompanied by interesting harmonies and a rhythmical bass line. Don’t be afraid to play with the keys. This key felt too low for my students, so I raised it a half step. Do what is best for your group…always.

One Call Away
Three-part with Solo
Arr. Bryan Sharpe
45689 Alfred Publishing
This piece, originally recorded by Charlie Puth, is great for beginning and middle school groups. The ranges are very accessible for middle school and for groups with a limited number of male singers.
This resource provides arrangers a site to place their arrangements for the public to peruse. There are challenges… For instance, you can’t always hear, on the site, the arrangement you are interested in. You may need to Google the performing group or the arranger on YouTube. However, I have found that of the arrangers I have emailed, requesting a few pages of the arrangement, have responded rather quickly.

Acappella Education Association (Facebook and website)
This group is dedicated to promoting the art of a contemporary a cappella and providing resources for directors and members of a cappella groups. A yearly membership is only $39 and gives you access to arrangements and other resources unavailable to non-members.  The listing of state representatives, regional directors, and board members are listed and are available to help you with your group and answer questions regarding your a cappella program.

Ethnic and Multicultural Music

Scott Sexton, Ethnic Music

Tongo (Polynesian/South Pacific)
TB (also available in 2-part and SAB)
Traditional, arr. Greg Gilpin

“Tongo” is a fun Polynesian piece for the beginning ensemble. My middle school guys have enjoyed singing the TB arrangement. It utilizes the pentatonic scale, the foreign language text is minimal, and it has lots of percussion and hand-clapping to give the piece an exciting texture. It is also a perfect beginning a capella piece, as most of the song is a call and response between the two parts. This is a great multicultural piece for a growing program or ensemble!

Sto Mi E Milo (Balkan Europe- Macedonian)
SSA (also available in TTB)
Traditional, arr. Daniel Hughes

Sto Mi E Milo is a folk song left over from the Ottoman Empire (an empire that ruled Balkan Europe for hundreds of years). It is about a village on the shores of a beautiful Macedonian lake and depicts the beauty of village girls by the lake collecting water in their pitchers. Macedonian is easier to sing that you think- the vowels are pure and the consonant pronunciations are very predictable. This piece is in 7/8 time (the meter alone is full of teaching opportunities!). Because the alto part almost exclusively uses a so to do motif, it would be a great piece for an SA ensemble wishing to try some SSA repertoire.

Mangisondele Nkosi Yam (South Africa-isiZulu)
SATB divsi with Alto and Baritone solos
Traditional, arr. Michael Barrett
Santa Barbara
In this traditional Zulu setting of the hymn “Nearer My God to Thee”, South African composer and conductor Michael Barrett has masterfully arranged this piece to capture the spirit of his country’s choral tradition. Also the piece is SATB divisi, the ranges and harmonies are very singable and therefore are very accessible, even to a younger high school choir. My students enjoy singing the Zulu text and it has a fun and rhythmic “Amen” section. The piece definitely does not have a “manufactured” feel and feels very organic and true to the original hymn.
Balkan Bridges: Traditional Music of the Former Yugoslavia and Bulgaria
Mary Cay Brass has published two book resources on Balkan choral music and this is the second book. Ms. Brass spent time in Former Yugoslavia as a Fulbright Scholar and these books are a result of many years collecting this music. I like this resource because it includes multiple voicings (great for people that teach multiple levels of choir!). Balkan music has fun meters (7/8, 9.8, etc) and much of its music is set in gorgeous minor and modal tonalities. The harmonies are both simple and challenging (you have anything from simple thirds to dissonant seconds… if anything, this book would be great for sight-reading practice)!

Junior High School

Tammy Maxie, Junior High

Hope is the Thing with Feathers
Deanna Wehrspann
Choristers Guild
We are loving this piece!  The poem is one of my favorites and part of the Language Arts curriculum at my school.  Musically it sings easily and is great for the first concert in October.   I also enjoy the learning resource page that the publisher provides for their pieces.  

Keep A Goin’
Frank L. Stanton 1857-1927  arr. Paul David Thomas
Brilee Publishing
This men’s piece is great for the middle school male singer because the range is perfect for each voice!   The vocal line helps with  independence within the part as it features tenor and bass alone using echo part writing.  This piece offers opportunity to teach dynamics and if simply fun to sing! 

Happy Together
Arr. Audrey Synder
Hal Leonard
Easy A Cappella piece for young voices!  My baritones were not ready for this until spring so be careful to not start this too early.  Add a fun beat boxer and it will work for a great light number in your programs.

Sight-reading Factory
Love this website!  Extremely affordable and it gives you so many options at your fingertips!  Combine these exercises with other sight reading materials you already have in your classroom.  My favorite feature is the ability for my students to work independently at home.