Finished with your fall concerts and ready to start preparing for the holidays. Here are some of Stanton's favorite new choices for your upcoming winter choral performances:
Open your high school choir's concert with Personent Hodie, arranged by Philip Kern. With its dynamic and exciting use of percussion accompaniment, this makes for an interesting and effective processional. The asymmetrical meters offer lots of teaching opportunities, while the vocal parts remain accessible for the choir. Ken Berg's African Noel is another strong choice for a concert opener.
Ding, Dong! Merrily On High is given a new arrangement by Paul Carey. Set mostly in 7/8, this setting of the familiar tune is a joyful romp with a fresh twist. Adding to the musical interest, Carey has chosen to slow the tune in the middle of the piece and allow for long, legato lines, a cappella singing, and programmatic stylings. The optional harp accompaniment adds even more sparkle!
A strong secular choice for winter performances is Evening in December by Victor Johnson. This exquisite seasonal ballad features stirring melodies and luscious harmonies, exuding the warmth of this contemplative text about a lonely traveler being invited in from the cold on a wintry December night. Also try the expressive Snowscape by Douglas E. Wagner.
Darmon Meader works his magic with the familiar carol O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. This particular carol seems to lend itself to the many metrical alterations and rich harmonic textures we have come to expect from Meader and The New York Voices. Accompanied by percussion, this is a great seasonal selection for ensembles of any size.
Join forces with your school or community concert band with Bells of Joy, arranged by Larry Clark and Rae Moses, a creative medley featuring â€œCarol of the Bells,â€ â€œJoy to the World,â€ â€œWe Three Kingsâ€ and â€œWhat Child Is This?â€Â With accessible choral and instrumental writing, this is sure to be a hit with both accomplished groups and training ensembles. Another good medley choice is Andy Beck's French Carol Suite, which features a smaller instrumental ensemble as an accompaniment option.
Middle school ensembles will find success with Audrey Snyder's arrangement of the Spanish carol A la Puerta del Cielo. This charming setting is very accessible, but with a sophisticated sound. Also check out On This Joyous Christmas Morning and Mary's Little Boy for younger ensembles.
Treble choirs will excel with Victor Johnson's To Hear the Angels Sing. Here, a beautiful original melody is paired with the traditional “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” text and expertly combined with the familiar “Gloria” melody for a joyous Christmas celebration. Other wonderful treble choices are Silent Winter, an evocative concert piece, and Ruth Elaine Schram's arrangement of What Child Is This?, hauntingly beautiful and with a unique Middle Eastern aura.
Good King Wenceslas, arranged by Ruth Elaine Schram, is perfect for younger men's groups. Optional solos and expressive word-painting help the audience experience the cold winds and the conversations between the good king and his loyal page, and the piano accompaniment is supportive to young voices. For more advanced groups, try the mixed meter setting of God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen by Kelly J. Turner.
Looking for some holiday pop suggestions. Check out our previous blog and our video below, or contact us!