News & Views Saturday, October 25, 2014

Category: School Choral

STANTON’S SPOTLIGHT on Elementary Choir 24 October, 2014

Each year, the knowledgeable staff at Stanton’s chooses select titles to promote to you, our valued customers.  We listen to thousands of new issues from scores of publishers and composers to present you with the very best in new music for your ensembles.  In our new Stanton’s Spotlight feature, we will put a special focus on one piece that we particularly enjoy, and tell you how it can serve you and your group.

Welcome Winter on This Night

Words and Music by Greg Gilpin

Recommended by Rachel Steele, School Choral Specialist

Teaching students to sing “in parts” is an important part of their musical development.  One of the easiest ways to introduce part singing to young students is the quodlibet, also known as a partner song.  In this selection, Gilpin begins with his own (English) text to J.S. Bach’s Bist Du Bei Mir.  After a short piano interlude, the second melody is introduced, this time an original composition.  Finally, the melodies are sung at the same time, creating the partner song.

While all partner songs can serve the purpose of learning to sing in parts, this one is especially good for some other reasons.  First, the range (C4 to F5) is very healthy for young singers.  The tessitura remains high enough that it encourages the use of head voice at all times, allowing your students to sing where they sound best.  In addition to range, the melody of Bist Due Bei Mir is excellent for working on the difference between steps, skips and leaps.  It has just enough leaps that it will challenge your singers to be accurate and not “scoop” or “slide”  to achieve larger welcome winter on this nightintervals.

This might be a great piece for your group because it…

  • is a great beginner two part piece
  • gives students a chance to experience the music of a great composer (J.S. Bach)
  • provides opportunities for interval work
  • teaches part singing
  • offers holiday/winter imagery without being  associated with a particular sacred holiday

For more great suggestions, please contact our choral department by phone at 1-800-42-MUSIC or email us at choral@stantons.com.

Rachel Steele has been working in the choral department at Stanton’s since 2013.  She previously taught middle school and high school band and choir for 13 years, and holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music education from The Ohio State University.  Currently a member of the Heisey Wind Ensemble and a musician at Epiphany Lutheran Church (Pickerington, OH,) Rachel also enjoys reading, sewing, baking and the Pittsburgh Steelers!


Have a “Jolly Jingling” Christmas! 23 October, 2014

Feature your elementary choir this winter with one of these great octavos, as featured on Stanton’s Elementary General Music Clinic with Sharon Burch:

Goldfish Christmas by Alan Billingsley
What child has not wanted a puppy for Christmas? This original novelty song is a sweet and funny look at what can happen when we don’t get exactly what we want. Written in a theatrical style, this tune lends itself to riser choreography, leading to plenty of smiles all around!

A Jolly, Jingling Carol Medley arr. Greg Gilpin
This concise arrangement seamlessly strings together six carol favorites, featuring various twists on meter and style while maintaining accessibility. It is perfect as a festive opener or closer that audiences and singers will love.

We Are Santa’s Elves arr. Greg Gilpin
Made popular on the holiday television special “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” this Johnny Marks song is a bright new work for young voices and includes optional kazoos for added fun. Simple, repetitious part-writing makes this quick to learn and easy to add staging, movement, and costumes.

Welcome Winter On This Night by Greg Gilpin
This peaceful setting features Bach’s gorgeous “Bist du Bei Mir” partnered with a gentle original melody and Greg Gilpin’s descriptive winter text. Their simple beauty combines to provide an excellent vehicle for musical expression and interpretation.

For more holiday suggestions for your young choir, please contact us!


Pertinent Professional Development 21 October, 2014

by Jen Sper and Ken Tilger, School Music Specialists

IMG_0809Professional development days/sessions can be of great benefit to educators – IF they are relevant and applicable to your subject area! We were honored to be invited to present sessions at the Fine Arts Professional Development Day through the Tri-County Educational Service Center in Wooster, Ohio on October 17. Music teachers from Ashland, Wayne and Holmes counties gathered at the Wayne Center for the Arts for a full day of arts-related professional development sessions – a great opportunity to both learn from outside presenters and network with other nearby music educators!

With numerous new options for band warm-up/technique and beginning band, Ken’s session for band and orchestra directors highlighted books from publishers including Alfred (Sound Innovations; S.I. Ensemble Development), Hal Leonard (Essential Elements Interactive), FJH (Measures of Success; Warm-Ups and Beyond), Kjos (Tradition of Excellence; Technique & Musicianship), and Focus On Music (Scale & Rhythm Chunks). Online resources through the Stanton’s website were explored (Jukebox, Listening Library, mobile app, etc.), as well as sharing the Top 10 New Titles for Band for 2014-2015 using a custom playlist created through the Stanton’s Jukebox.

Jen presented a reading session for the choral directors in attendance, featuring new concert, festival and holiday literature for middle school and high school ensembles. A couple of brave sight-readers even served as accompanists! Many titles included were specially selected as quality options for OMEA Adjudicated Event performances, or are new additions to the required repertoire lists. Also discussed were recent changes to the required lists, and how these changes affect teacher’s programming and budgeting options.

IMG_0812On the way back, IMG_0813a stop at Grandpa’s Cheesebarn in Ashland was a requirement (we gotta eat, right?). One of Jen’s favorite stops on her way back and forth to college, Ken had never been before – and it’s a lot to take in! Much cheese (and dip, and jelly, and cider, and and and…) was consumed. :)

Are YOU planning programming for an upcoming professional development event? Contact us and let us help! Our knowledgeable and experienced staff are able to present a wide variety of sessions (and would love a field trip out of the store!), and we’re happy to tailor our topics to fit your needs.

About the authors:
Ken is a former band director, and has been with Stanton’s since 2004. He enjoys comic books, playing with his young son, and plays saxophone with Swing’s the Thing Big Band. You should check out their album Walk On Out the Door available on iTunes and Amazon.

Jen has been with Stanton’s since 2006. A former middle school and high school choral director, and an active choral singer and accompanist throughout the Central Ohio area, she also enjoys eating good food, running (to counteract the good food…) and the Muppets.


“The Stars Point the Way” 17 October, 2014

For a special feature for your treble ensembles in your upcoming holiday performances, Stanton’s suggests:

The Stars Point the Way by Mark Sirett
The Stars Point the Way was commissioned by the Cantilon Choirs of Edmonton, Alberta and was awarded “Outstanding Choral Composition for 2010” by the Association of Canadian Choral Communities. This Christmas carol is sub-titled “Cosmic Bethlehem” and is a beautiful mix of traditional metaphors and contemporary references that will engage your singers and audiences and make the miracle relevant and personal.

Cradle Hymn by Kim Andre Arnesen
The Norwegian composer has created a beautiful, expressive piece set to a poem by the famous English hymn writer Isaac Watts. Sing it at Christmas or any time of the year.

For more stunning holiday suggestions, contact us at 1.800.426.8742. Shop Stanton’s for all your sheet music needs!


Composer Profile: Stephen Main 14 October, 2014

by Jen Sper, Choral Music Specialist

Steve_Smile_HandHere at Stanton’s Sheet Music, choral composer Stephen Main first captured our attention with his original setting of the In the Bleak Midwinter text in 2006. While not yet prolific by any means – we’ve seen just seven titles from him – we’ve come to trust his name, and know that we’re in for something special! His work is consistently beautiful, with creative melodies and lush harmonic structure that simply feels good to both the singer and the listener.

Especially notable are Main’s contributions to holiday concert repertoire. In the Bleak Midwinter was featured on our Excellence in Choral Literature reading session in 2010, followed by The Darkest Midnight in December in 2013, and Blessed Be That Maid Mary and The Holly and the Ivy in 2014.

Born and raised in New York City, Mr. Main has music in his blood: his mother taught piano and his father, Tom Main, was a professional jazz trombonist with Si Zentner’s band in the 60s. As a choirboy Steve sang at St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue under Gerre Hancock. He went on to study violin, piano, organ, theory and composition at the Choate School and then at Oberlin Conservatory. At the same time, he earned his B.A., M.A., and eventually his Ph.D. in Religious Philosophy from the University of Chicago. He is currently the Music Director at Piedmont Community Church, in the Bay Area, where he composes and conducts regular choral and orchestral performances. Stephen is active as an organist, harpist and conductor, with recent appearances in San Francisco, throughout Northern California, New York, Cincinnati and Los Angeles. He lives in San Francisco and LA.

As a composer, Steve’s work has included the recent publication of new choral and symphonic works, multiple commissions, and the completion of the scores for several films. He is a First Prize Winner of the John Ness Beck award for a new American choral work, and a 2007 winner of the American Composers Forum carol contest. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune hailed Stephen’s work as “evocative” music that “captures mystery.”

For more information about Stephen Main and his music, please visit his website.

Stanton’s Recommends: Blessed Be That Maid Mary, The Darkest Midnight in December, The Heavenly Table, In the Bleak Mid-Winter

About the Author:
Jen has been with Stanton’s since 2006. An active choral singer and accompanist throughout the Central Ohio area, she also enjoys eating good food, running (to counteract the good food…) and the Muppets.


Combo Concerts: Women 10 October, 2014

The concert schedule for lots of schools is the same year-in and year-out.  Consider shaking things up this year with a “combo” concert!  Combine your groups across levels (imagine how big your band will be with students grades 5-12!) or across genres (your 6th grade choir would love to sing a piece or a medley with your high school jazz band!).

Combo Concerts: Women

Recommended by Rachel Steele, School Choral Specialist

While putting on a concert that combines your male singers of all ages can be a bit of a challenge, doing the same with all of your women couldn’t be easier!  The women from your high school, middle school, and even upper elementary groups will have the same range and be able to sing 2, 3, or 4 part treble music.  Focus on choosing pieces with a message that will resonate with girls in a wide age range and text/subject matter that is appropriate for all.

symphony of nightThe Symphony Of Night - by Mark Patterson  2 Part  BL799

For a simple two part arrangement, you can’t beat the beauty of The Symphony of Night.  Mark Patterson writes his own text to the  beautiful Swedish folk song “Bred Dina Vida Vingar” and the result is a subtle, enchanting melody set with a text appropriate for any age group.  While it is not seasonal, the references to the darkness of night make this especially appropriate in the winter.  The supportive piano accompaniment adds to the texture while staying out of the way of your singers.

 

one tin soldierOne Tin Soldierarr. Kirby Shaw  2 Part 08666128

This piece comes from the folk rock tradition of the 1960’s and 70’s and the anti-war sentiments that were such a part of the music of that era.   The strophic form allows you to feature one group at a time or even some soloists during the verses and then have everyone sing the chorus.  One Tin Soldier is in a great range to let those light, healthy middle school voices soar, and sends an important message to singers of all ages.

all the pretty little horsesAll the Pretty Little Horsesarr. Andy Beck SSA 39848

Lullabies seem to be standard fare for women’s chorus, but we promise that this one is truly unique.  Andy Beck has taken this classic American folksong and spun it into a jazz waltz that makes it feel fresh and modern.  The harmonies are easy enough that less experienced singers won’t be intimidated, but mature enough to hold everyone’s interest.  A jazz flute and vibe part, available as free downloads here, really add to the texture and feel of this unique arrangement.  Who says women’s chorus can’t be cool too?

 

Pure Imaginationarr. Jay Althouse  SSA  37984

pure imaginationSince you’ve already committed to a concert combining your women’s groups (or at least one piece on a concert), why not go the extra step and ask for some of the adults in the community to join in as well?  Contact your local community chorus, church choir(s), alumni or even the parents of your students.  There is something incredibly powerful about women, young adults and children singing together, and this easy-to-learn arrangement will be perfect if you only have a rehearsal or two to put it together.  Whether they remember Willy Wonka from the Ronald Dahl books (1964), the Gene Wilder movie (1971) or the Johnny Depp remake (2005), your women will love Pure Imagination.

 

Msilale Wmsilale wanawakeanawake Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory  SSA w/ Descant  00123692

Sometimes music education is about life lessons.  Msilale Wanawake (Women, Wake Up!) is an inspiring piece based on a Kenyan proverb.  Perfect for multi-grade level and multi-generational ensembles, this specifically addresses female students, encouraging women to stand up and “rid themselves of societal shackles, to walk away from servitude, gender bias and oppression.”  If you are nervous about younger groups singing a piece this complex, assign your middle school and/or elementary students the descant part (present for 3/4 of the piece), and leave your more advanced students to the other three parts.   A great kick-starter to discussion about women’s lives around the world.

It is possible to do a program for women’s chorus that doesn’t have a single piece about flowers, clouds, stars or boyfriends.    For more recommendations for women’s groups or combination concerts, give us a call at 1-800-42-MUSIC or email us at choral@stantons.com  Previous posts in this series : Men’s Combo Concerts

Rachel Steele has been working in the choral department at Stanton’s since 2013.  She previously taught middle school and high school band and choir for 13 years, and holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in music education from The Ohio State University.  Currently a member of the Heisey Wind Ensemble and a musician at Epiphany Lutheran Church (Pickerington, OH,) Rachel also enjoys reading, sewing, baking and the Pittsburgh Steelers!


STANTON’S SPOTLIGHT on Holiday Choral 09 October, 2014

Each year, the knowledgeable staff at Stanton’s chooses select titles to promote to you, our valued customers. We listen to thousands of new issues from scores of publishers and composers to present you with the very best in new music for your ensembles. In our new Stanton’s Spotlight feature, we will put a special focus on one piece that we particularly enjoy, and tell you how it can serve you and your group.

The Little Drummer Boy

arr. Philip Kern

recommended by Jen Sper, School Choral Specialist

Little Drummer Boy-page-001“The Little Drummer Boy” is a standard holiday carol, but this is NOT a standard arrangement! Philip Kern has set it here for a cappella SSATB voices (and short solos on a couple of verses), with an innovative world-music flavor. If you’ve been experimenting with contemporary a cappella repertoire (a la “The Sing-Off” or “Pitch Perfect”), this is a great selection for a December concert. You’ll need basses with a pretty solid low F, and all other ranges are moderate.

The percussion part as written is notated for a single hand drum, but in my opinion this sounds a little anemic. Raid the band room next door for all the world music percussion instruments you can find (and recruit some kids to play!). And you know what would be REALLY cool? If you have a talented vocal percussionist (or two), let them loose on the percussion part and go totally sans instruments!

I love a cappella arrangements for holiday performances, because they give you such freedom to travel with your ensemble – perform in the school cafeteria during lunch (recruit!), at the monthly school board meeting (advocate!), at the local mall or other holiday event (publicize!) or at the nursing home (give back to the community!).

This might be a great piece for your group because it…
•    incorporates a creative world-music style percussion groove, as well as some contemporary a cappella influence.
•    features moderate ranges and straight-forward divisi.
•    can “travel” for holiday performances.

For more great suggestions, please contact our Choral Department at 1.800.42.MUSIC or email us at choral@stantons.com.


“I Love the Winter Weather!” 08 October, 2014

Ready to program your upcoming holiday concert? Stanton’s suggests that you try one of these outstanding choices with your choir:

Carol of the Bells arr. Jay Rouse
A fabulous new find for the holidays! This favorite and familiar tune is crafted as a jazzy a cappella work that is creative and musically rich with diverse vocals, legato at times and crisp and bell-like at others. And let’s not forget the optional high soprano descant! Simply an outstanding arrangement for your singers.

In Dulci Jubilo arr. Audrey Snyder
Here is the joyous carol with Latin and English texts in a flexible and accessible setting that will create many performance options. The piano accompaniment is optional and the vocal parts are varied and colorful making this ideal for Christmas concerts and services.

The Little Drummer Boy arr. Philip Kern
No Christmas season would be complete without hearing this well-loved song. Kern’s fresh a cappella approach, featuring a world-rhythm drum part, really makes the classic shine. “Pa-rum-pum-pum-pum!”

Rise Up Shepherd and Follow arr. Robert L. Jefferson
Robert Jefferson shares his wonderfully rich arrangement of one of the most beautiful African-American Christmas spirituals. The lush harmonic texture announcing “good tidings of great joy” along with Jefferson’s benevolent choral summons to “follow” is sure to add depth to any holiday concert or festival performance.

Wolfgang’s Christmas Canon arr. Tom Fettke
This fabulous masterwork showstopper brings Mozart and the “Deck the Hall” lyrics together in a bright and accessible setting. This delightful novelty selection would make a terrific opener, closer, or encore!

Bethlehem Lullaby arr. Greg Gilpin
The haunting melody of the “Coventry Carol” is paired with original music set to the words of the traditional spiritual “What You Gonna Call Your Pretty Little Baby.” This artful and picturesque partner-style song setting, so special and unique with an elegant and supportive piano accompaniment, will be an unforgettable Christmas selection for your concerts.

Je Ne Fus Jamais Si Aise (Sound of Flute and Drum) arr. Jerry Estes
Pierre Certon’s dancing and lighthearted work is made more accessible for younger voices with this fine arrangement. The harmonic and textural elements remain true to the original, preserving the frivolity of the piece. You may choose to sing only the French and end at the optional fine, or extend the length and continue singing using an English text. Add the flute and percussion parts to create the perfect performance.

A Star Shines Bright by Mary Donnelly & George L.O. Strid
Angels sing “Gloria in excelsis” and a star shines over the stable in Bethlehem – the Nativity is celebrated in this lovely original work especially good for beginning SSA choirs. Well-crafted vocal writing with optional flute.

Little Saint Nick arr. Christopher Peterson
You will have fun, fun, fun with this 1963 holiday classic by the Beach Boys! A great concert showcase for men’s choirs and close harmony groups!

For more suggestions, check out our video below, click here to view our complete School Choral promotion for Holiday 2014, or contact us!


Holiday Choral Reading Session Recap 06 October, 2014

Pandora-Christmas-Music-StationsOn Saturday October 4, Stanton’s Sheet Music hosted our fourth annual FREE Holiday Choral Reading Session for area teachers and college music majors. Our attendees gathered in the James E. Strouse Workshop Hall with our clinicians Jen Sper and Rachel Steele, School Choral Music specialists at Stanton’s, for a wonderful morning of holiday music – and Christmas cookies! What a great way to welcome the season!

Did you miss out on the session? Never fear! Here are just a few of our favorite pieces that were featured:
For middle school choirs: Je Ne Fus Jamais Si Aise by Pierre Certon/arr. Jerry Estes
For high school choirs: In Dulci Jubilo arr. Audrey Snyder
For college choirs: The Little Drummer Boy arr. Philip Kern
For women’s choirs: The Stars Point the Way by Mark Sirett
For men’s choirs: Little Saint Nick arr. Christopher Peterson

For more titles featured on the clinic, check out Stanton’s Virtual Workshop! You’ll be able to preview full octavos with audio demonstrations, as well as LIVE video footage from the session. You can also find all of our Holiday Choral suggestions here, or contact us for more information.


STANTON’S SPOTLIGHT on Elementary Choir 24 September, 2014

Each year, the knowledgeable staff at Stanton’s chooses select titles to promote to you, our valued customers.  We listen to thousands of new issues from scores of publishers and composers to present you with the very best in new music for your ensembles.  In our new Stanton’s Spotlight feature, we will put a special focus on one piece that we particularly enjoy, and tell you how it can serve you and your group.

Ribbons in the Sky

Words and Music by Andy Beck

Recommended by Rachel Steele, School Choral Specialist

stanton's spotlight ribbons in the skyElementary students love to move to the music.  Whether it is in your general music class or in your elementary choir, “Ribbons in the Sky” is a beautiful selection for your elementary chorus that allows you to incorporate movement in a way that serves the musical concepts it teaches.  The piece has a simple melody with a small range (B3 to D5,) and is accompanied by a recorder and piano.  While it is a 2 part piece, the harmonies consist of echo patterns and a short (repeated) section where the homophonic parts are in contrary motion.

The composer suggests that you give each child a colored ribbon or scarf that corresponds with one of the colors mentioned in the text.  There are a multitude of ways that you can use these manipulatives to help your students.  Try having the students move the scarves slowly overhead during the length of a phrase.  This shows both the shape and duration of the phrase.   Students may also enjoy creating some of their own choreography to the piece.  Listen to a recording with your students and discuss appropriate types of motions, then let them create their own in small groups.  You might be amazed at what they come up with!

This might be a great piece for your group because it…

  • is a great beginner two part piece
  • gives students a chance to experience singing with an instrument
  • provides opportunities for Dalcroze-style music teaching
  • teaches slow, lyrical singing
  • offers the chance for creative choreography that is different from run-of-the-mill “choralography”

For more great suggestions, please contact our choral department by phone at 1-800-42-MUSIC or email us at choral@stantons.com.


New for Elementary Choirs for Fall 2014 23 September, 2014

Welcome your elementary choir back to school with one of these great choral octavos, as featured on Stanton’s Elementary General Music Clinic with Sharon Burch:

If I Knew You by Cynthia Gray
Based on Nixon Waterman’s distinguished text, this piece addresses the serious issue of bullying with a poignant and sincere message about acceptance, friendship, and being sensitive to one another. The violin adds another voice of warmth, depth, and beauty to this stunning work.

It’s Possible (from “Seussical”) arr. Andy Beck
What started as words on a storybook page, then travelled to Broadway to light up the stage, is newly arranged for a different use, and now kids can sing what was written by Seuss. So come take a dip in McElligot’s Pool, by singing this song with your choir at school.

Monster Mash arr. Greg Gilpin
Triadic harmonies and several spoken solos are perfect for younger groups in this fun novelty song. Compare dance moves with Frankenstein, Wolfman, and Dracula, and maybe add a few of your own!

Polly Wolly Doodle arr. Russell Robinson
Russ Robinson’s arrangement of this traditional American folk song is full of clapping and lighthearted interplay between the two-part voices. Accompanied by piano, this lively piece is sure to be a concert or festival favorite at anytime of the year.

Ribbons in the Sky by Andy Beck
This tasteful Native American-inspired piece celebrates the beauty of a rainbow. As the seven colors are revealed, use movement scarves or ribbon wands for added effect (instructions included in the publication). An optional recorder part adds to the multicultural character.

You Can Dance, You Can Sing by Mark Burrows
This high-energy composition based on a traditional Zimbabwean proverb will be a hit with both your singers and audiences. The lyrics are mostly in English with a few simple Zimbabwean words. Shaker, djembe, and hand drum add a vibrant texture that helps to establish the rhythmic groove.

For more exciting elementary choral resources, please contact us!


FREE Holiday Choral Reading Session! 22 September, 2014

Pandora-Christmas-Music-StationsNow that you’ve been working with your ensembles for a few weeks and know the strengths of your particular students, you are probably ready to program your Holiday concert. Let Stanton’s Sheet Music help!

*FREE*
HOLIDAY CHORAL READING SESSION
Saturday, October 4, 2014
10:00-11:30 a.m.

We will read new titles in all voicings for winter concerts. Even if you attended our choral reading sessions this summer, we still encourage you to join us for this Holiday session, as we will be including many titles that have not been read on any previous Stanton’s sessions!

Because we will be reading music directly from our large inventory and sharing the expertise of the Stanton’s School Choral staff, we are able to offer this reading session at no cost to you! (There is no complimentary packet, but you may purchase singles or quantities on any titles that you like.)

For more information, please contact us at 1.800.426.8742 ext. 1 or email us.


Warm Up! 16 September, 2014

Warm Up! (20 Purpose Driven Etudes) by Gary Walth is a perfect set of warm-ups for the choral ensemble that’s designed to enhance and stimulate the growth of each member’s vocal and choral ability. Thinking of the warm-up as a “mini voice lesson,” you can reinforce concepts with consistent encouragement, criticism, problem-solving and praise. This practical volume will help the conductor provide purposeful leadership and develop artistry in each individual through exercises for breath support, open tone, flexibility, vowel uniformity, balance, intonation and much more. Each exercise includes a notated keyboard accompaniment with multiple modulations and professional recordings of a rhythm section and singers performing each drill on the enclosed CD.

For more valuable choral warm-up resources, click here to visit our website, or contact us!


Combo Concerts: Men 12 September, 2014

men and boys choirsThe concert schedule for lots of schools is the same year in and year out.  Consider shaking things up this year with a “combo” concert!  Combine your groups across levels (imagine how big your band will be with students grades 5-12!) or across genres (your 6th grade choir would love to sing a piece or a medley with your high school jazz band!)

 

Combo Concerts: Men

Recommended by Rachel Steele, School Choral Specialist

One of the most common complaints we hear from choral directors is “I just don’t have enough boys!”  Well, we say feature the boys you do have-if you build it, they will come!  Even though it can be difficult from a logistical standpoint, combining the male members of your choirs from all levels into one group and can have big dividends.  The younger boys will look up to your high school men, and your older men will be gratified that you trust them enough to be examples for your younger students.  Below, we suggest a few pieces that would be great for boys of all levels to perform together. While these are all in men’s voicings, many have high Tenor or Tenor I parts that can be sung by your youngest guys, even those with unchanged voices.

brooklyn's hereBrooklyn’s Here - arr. Mac Huff  TB 00123858

Music from Disney’s Broadway smash hit “Newsies” is the perfect vehicle for making your men feel good about singing.  The character’s in the show are boys in the same age range as your guys, and the historical context gives many teaching opportunities.  The catchy melody of “Brooklyn’s Here” is in an easy 2 part arrangement, great for groups of all sizes.  When the tenor part does run low, it almost always double in the bass part, or can be easily taken up the octave for your youngest singers.  The “all for one and one for all” attitude creates a great bonding experience.

baba yetu smallBaba YetuChristopher Tin/arr. Derek Machan TTBB 42801

For a large group of guys, you can’t go wrong with Baba Yetu.  This Swahili adaptation of “The Lord’s Prayer” from the video game Civilization IV  has an inspiring African feel and haunting melody that will hook your men on the first page.  Plenty of solo opportunities mean that you can feature a great soloist or various groups of men.  Consider adding ethnic percussion to create a powerful experience your student’s won’t soon forget.

manly men smallManly Men (Men’s Chorus Extravaganza)Kurt Knecht TTBB a cap. 08501442

Sometimes it’s OK to laugh at ourselves just a little.  Poking fun at the men’s chorus tradition and the stereotypes associated with male singers (egotistical tenors vs. super baritone vibrato!) this number is sure to get a giggle (or even a guffaw!)  out of your audiences.  Consider this if you combine men from several high school and/or adult community choirs.

vagabond smallThe VagabondMark Patterson  TTB or TBB  BL821

Mark Patterson’s original solo arrangement of this tune (found in the solo collection “Heroes and Vagabonds”) has been a popular choice for years.  This new arrangement for 3 part men captures the feeling of the original solo with a nod to the Robert Louis Stevenson poem of the same name.  The opening solo could easily be moved up the octave, giving an opportunity to showcase your young unchanged voices in their best range.

i am that man smallI Am That ManMark Hayes TTBB 31330

Sometimes music education is about life lessons.  I Am That Man is an inspiring piece based on President Barack Obama’s first inaugural address.  Perfect for multi-grade level and multi-generational ensembles, this specifically addresses male students, asking them to be leaders in their community “not by might or power, but with gentleness of heart, with courage and compassion.”  This thought-provoking discussion starter will send a great message to your students and your audience.

 

There you have it folks…5 great pieces for men’s choir, and not a pirate, sailor, knight or lost girlfriend in sight!  For more recommendations for men’s groups or combination concerts, give us a call at 1-800-42-MUSIC or email us at choral@stantons.com.


Stanton’s E-Tools: Wishlists 05 September, 2014

wishlistThe amazing staff at Stanton’s knows how valuable your time is.  That’s why we try to provide you with as many tools as we can to make choosing music easier,  faster and more enjoyable.  In this series of blog posts, we will be profiling our E-tools. Whether you are a local customer here in Columbus, OH or one of our many friends around the world, we hope you will find a way to use our E-tools!

Overheard often at Stanton’s-

  • “I did this piece in high school.  I loved it!!!   It  made my whole year in band/choir/orchestra. I’d love to do it with my kids, but they’re just not ready yet.  Sigh.  Maybe in a few years.”
  • “There’s so many great new pieces out this year.  I can’t do them all this fall, but maybe this spring.”
  • “This would be perfect for a theme concert about ___________.  I’ll have to keep it in mind for the future.”
  • “I listened to all those pieces on all those CD’s from the publishers, but now I can’t remember what I liked!”

All of the above are great reasons to use the Wish List feature on the Stanton’s website.  As musicians, we are always on the lookout for new pieces that will inspire us as well as invigorate and educate our students.  The  Wish List feature allows you to keep track of pieces you like, and organize them any way you want (by concert program, theme/style, performance year, etc).  You can also email your list(s) to friends or colleagues, export it to a Microsoft Excel file for your own records, or  submit it directly to your treasurer as a requisition for a purchase order!

If you have questions about how to use the Stanton’s Wishlist, or  if  you need further information on any of our e-tools, feel free to call us at 1-800-42-MUSIC or email us at greatservice@stantons.com.

Previous posts in this series:  Listening LibraryStanton’s App, Digital Delivery, Virtual Workshop, Jukebox


STANTON’S SPOTLIGHT on Men’s & Women’s Choirs 04 September, 2014

Each year, the knowledgeable staff at Stanton’s chooses select titles to promote to you, our valued customers. We listen to thousands of new issues from scores of publishers and composers to present you with the very best in new music for your ensembles. In our new Stanton’s Spotlight feature, we will put a special focus on one piece that we particularly enjoy, and tell you how it can serve you and your group.

Msilale Wanawake

by Paul Caldwell & Sean Ivory

recommended by Jen Sper, School Choral Specialist

Msilale Wanawake-page-001The music of Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory has become standard in the repertoire of many choirs. Often based on musical fragments from cultures around the world, their music has a dynamic quality that is truly unique.

Msilale Wanawake (Women, don’t fall asleep) is a Swahili proverb encouraging women to rid themselves of societal shackles, to walk away from servitude, gender bias and oppression. Caldwell and Ivory also borrow from the traditional “To everything there is a season” text: “A time to sing, time for lullabies, then there’s a season to rise, rise, rise!” What a gloriously strong message to instill in young women! No flowers, stars or boyfriends to be found in this women’s piece!

Ranges are moderate, with SI and SII mostly in the middle to upper part of the staff, and altos primarily between middle C and A. It’s easy to sing with warm, supported tone. The descant can be sung by a solo or small ensemble.

Oh, and let your pianist loose on the accompaniment – it’s well notated for the average accompanist, but will really come to life with some extra attention.

This might be a great piece for your group because it…
•    features a strong and empowering text for young women.
•    has an energetic, rhythmic world music style groove.
•    lends itself to the creative addition of percussion.

A City Called Heaven

arr. Victor C. Johnson

recommended by Jen Sper, School Choral Specialist

City Called Heaven-page-001Victor Johnson knows how to write for developing choirs. End of story.

Ok, there IS more to the story… This creative arrangement is set in an easy jazz waltz style that just feels “cool,” even to the fickle young men’s ensemble. The TTB voicing provides an easy introduction to three-part singing, with plenty of unison singing providing a safe “home base” in between the divisi sections.

Ranges are conducive to the recently changed (or even still changing) voice – Tenor I from C3-G4, Tenor 2 from C3-F4, and Bass from C3-C4 – and whenever the Tenor parts have their lowest notes, they’re in unison with the Basses for support.

The optional solo at the beginning is a nice opportunity to feature an outstanding singer, or create a small soli ensemble – maybe all the senior boys, for example.

This might be a great piece for your group because it…
•    features a cool jazz waltz feel that is appealing to young men.
•    encourages an “adventuresome” ear with intriguing jazz harmonies.
•    is a good introduction to three-part singing for men’s choirs, with plenty of unison singing as well.

For more great suggestions, please contact our Choral Department at 1.800.42.MUSIC or email us at choral@stantons.com.


New for Men’s & Women’s Choirs for Fall 2014 03 September, 2014

As you prepare for your first concert of the school year, Stanton’s Sheet Music suggests that you consider one of these outstanding selections for your women’s or men’s choir:

Ally Bally Bee arr. Douglas E. Wagner
A tender text, a sweet melody, and warm harmonies come together in this gentle lullaby for SSA choirs. The tessitura is well chosen, allowing your girls to sing in the sweet spot of their voices. Fun fact: long before it was considered a Scottish folk song, this beautiful tune originated as the street cry of a candy peddler.

Hold On! (Keep Your Hand on-a That Plow) arr. Ruth Elaine Schram
An absorbing accompaniment and attractive chord structure support the vocal lines in this dynamic and powerful arrangement of the spiritual. It is a terrific choice for use at your next performance as an opening or closing number.

In Every Soul by Mark Patterson
Like an overgrown garden, each soul has a place of beauty and joy to be discovered. This lovely work for treble voices offers that beauty through the simplicity of inspirational text and expressive music. Ideal for young voices from elementary through middle school.

Ku’u Pua I Paokalani arr. Henry Leck & Martin Ellis
In 1895, Queen Lili’uokalani lived under house arrest in her Iolani Palace for eight months. Not being allowed to communicate with anyone nor to receive visitors, the Queen was able to receive a bouquet of flowers brought to her each day. This song is a treasured favorite from the deep cultural heritage of Hawaii.

Land of Beyond by Rollo Dilworth
Evoking a spirit of adventure and exploration, this well-known poem by Robert Service is vividly set to music in a fresh and contemporary style. Young treble singers will be inspired to perform this festival work and encouraged to never lose sight of their goals!

Night Wind Whispers by Julie Ann Ballard
With a repeating and rhythmic piano accompaniment that reflects the emotional tumult of the poetry, the vocal lines soar and intertwine in an impressive flurry of sound, before suddenly coming to rest. An exciting work for high school women’s voices.

Shady Grove arr. Robert I. Hugh
Now available in an SSA voicing! American folksongs combine to create a fascinating collage of sound and color in this accessible setting. Accompanied by piano and optional conga and mandolin, the vocal lines are layered, sung imitatively, augmented and much more for an excellent pedagogical and sonic treat!

Aya Ngena arr. Ruth Morris Gray
This authentic Zulu folk song is a perfect fit for men’s choirs in three parts! The authentic African rhythmic groove is punctuated by brief solos and joyful handclaps. Add the optional percussion (bells, shaker and drums), and the overall effect will be most impressive!

The Battle of Kings Mountain by Vicki Tucker Courtney
The lyrics of this rhythmically interesting men’s song tell the story of a pivotal battle in the Southern campaign that took place in 1780 on Kings Mountain, near the border of North and South Carolina. Boys’ choirs will sound triumphant when singing the historic text, and the addition of the optional piccolo and snare drum will only add to a memorable performance.

A City Called Heaven arr. Victor C. Johnson
A soulful, reflective, and free-flowing opening leads into an easy jazz-waltz style in this marvelous arrangement. Jazz sonorities abound throughout the piece, and it is suitable for both school and church use.

Lil’ Liza Jane arr. Jimmy Baas & Randy James
This up-tempo folk tune setting is sure to excite singer and audience alike. The accessible arrangement by Baas and James was written to showcase the strength of the developing male voices. The lively piano accompaniment is supportive and sure to add musical interest to any performance. Appropriate for festival and concerts.

Men o’ the Sea arr. Gary E. Parks
Here’s a hearty and masculine feature just for the guys! This traditional whaling tune is an adventure in male bonding as the crew joins their voices to conquer the sea. A robust piano accompaniment mirrors the crashing of tempestuous waves. “Batten down boys, ready for the storm!”

Music’s Echo by Greg Gilpin
This a cappella best-seller is now available for TB voices! Using the optional percussion accompaniment creates a Renaissance sound and a madrigal effect. A simple melody starts of the work, then each part joins in with its own melody. Soon the polyphonic singing becomes gloriously forte, building to a strong ending that includes an optional descant.

For more suggestions, check out our video below, click here to view our complete School Choral promotion for Fall 2014, or contact us!


Stanton’s E-Tools: Jukebox 29 August, 2014

website Jukebox image for promoThe amazing staff at Stanton’s knows how valuable your time is.  That’s why we try to provide you with as many tools as we can to make choosing music easier,  faster and more enjoyable.  In this series of blog posts, we will be profiling our E-tools. Whether you are a local customer here in Columbus, OH or one of our many friends around the world, we hope you will find a way to use our E-tools!

As an extension of our Listening Library, we are proud to offer Stanton’s Jukebox Stanton’s Jukebox is a specialized “wish list” where you can add sound samples from our Listening Library, then use it to:

  • Research your music purchases by building a playlist for all the titles you are considering, and then easily compare “apples to apples” as you listen.
  • Arrange your concert program by listening to full-length pieces in order, then rearranging as needed to allow for a variety in tempi and styles.
  • Build specific playlists for each of your different ensembles to assist you with your rehearsal planning and score study.
  • Generate a personalized URL for each playlist that can be emailed to your ensemble to enhance at-home practice – you can even add custom practice/rehearsal notes to appear with each playlist.
  • Forward your playlist to your school administrator or Booster/PTA president when you need to solicit funding for specific music.
  • Design separate playlists for different genres or eras of music for your Music History or Music Appreciation students to use during class or with homework.
  • Create a list of your favorite works for your personal listening pleasure in your home or office, and let it inspire you to continue strengthening your ensembles!

If you have questions about how to use the Stanton’s Jukebox feature, we also have a quick video tutorial that you can watch, as well as a list of “Frequently Asked Questions.”  As always, if  you need further information, feel free to call us at 1-800-42-MUSIC or email us at greatservice@stantons.com.

Previous posts in this series:  Listening LibraryStanton’s App, Digital Delivery, Virtual Workshop


STANTON’S SPOTLIGHT on Middle School Choir 27 August, 2014

Each year, the knowledgeable staff at Stanton’s chooses select titles to promote to you, our valued customers.  We listen to thousands of new issues from scores of publishers and composers to present you with the very best in new music for your ensembles.  In our new Stanton’s Spotlight feature, we will put a special focus on one piece that we particularly enjoy, and tell you how it can serve you and your group.

Jambo

Harris/arr. Narverud

Recommended by Rachel Steele, School Choral Specialistspotlight template-Jambo-page-001

Many choral directors struggle with trying to be all inclusive with their repertoire choices.  Sometimes an easy solution to this problem is to choose a piece that falls into more than one category.  Jambo is a piece of classic pop music from Kenyan musician Teddy Kalanda Harrison.  His group “Them Mushrooms” took the song platinum in 1982.  However, since his music is heavily influenced by the folk traditions of Kenya, this translates well into an a capella selection  for your young singers.  That’s right – it’s multi-cultural a capella pop!

Don’t be scared off by the unfamiliar-the piece has easy harmonies that are comfortable to sing, and a range of only E3-C4 for your men.  While your ladies might prefer to sing higher than what they do here (the soprano part goes only to C#5,)  invite your students to dive into this choral tradition by writing a descant and sing that chorus one more time!

This might be a great piece for your group because it…

  • allows you to study the music of a different culture/choral tradition
  • gives students a chance experience singing with ethnic percussion
  • provides opportunities for solos/small groups (These are notated in bass clef, but could be sung by any voice part.)
  • offers the chance for a three-part group to sing a capella
  • showcases sudden dynamic shifts to add interest and drama.

For more great suggestions, please contact our choral department by phone at 1-800-42-MUSIC or email us at choral@stantons.com.


New for Middle School Choirs for Fall 2014 26 August, 2014

As you prepare for your first concert of the school year, Stanton’s Sheet Music suggests that you consider one of these outstanding selections for your middle school choir:

Autumn Fires by Mary Donnelly & George L.O. Strid
Your younger choirs will build important choral skills with this tender setting of a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson. Alternating between modal and major key tonality, the part-writing is carefully crafted, making this an excellent choice for that first concert of the year.

Cangia, Cangia Tue Voglie by Fasolo/arr. Tom Shelton
Here is a beautiful arrangement of an Italian Baroque tenor aria, scored for voices with piano and flute. It’s a great selection for introducing your students to singing in Italian, complete with a pronunciation guide and translation.

Didn’t My Lord Deliver Daniel? arr. Roger Emerson
Now available in a flexible SATB voicing, this driving rock spiritual features a subdued opening that explodes into high-powered energy sure to be a hit with your developing mixed choirs in middle and high school.

Dragonfly by Cristi Cary Miller
This vivid concert work for young voices portrays the emergence of the adult dragonfly with the dazzling, jewel-like sapphire wings through layered vocal lines and shifting 6/8 to 3/4 metric feel. Accessible but satisfying, this selection will be perfect for concert, contest and festival!

Hopsa! Lisella! arr. Russell Robinson
“Hopsa! Lisella!,” an 18th century Alsatian folk song, quite literally sways back and forth as it is sung. The feeling of acceleration typical of 18th century song is captured through ritards, accelerandos and tempo changes at the beginning of each verse. Add tambourine and triangle to enhance the French character of the song. In two parts, this accessible setting will work nicely with any treble group.

Jambo arr. Jacob Narverud
Kenyan composer Teddy Kalanda Harrison and his group Them Mushrooms received world-wide recognition with their platinum-certified recording of his piece. Now available in an exciting choral arrangement, it is bound to be a favorite.

Lascia Ch’io Pianga by Handel/arr. Russell Robinson
Singers have long cherished this staple of the solo repertoire, and now it is beautifully set for choral groups of any size. Teach all of the same lessons you learned from your favorite vocal instructor as you share this baroque aria with a new generation. Not difficult, but rewarding.

Laudate Dominum by Mozart/arr. Russell Robinson
From Mozart’s “Solemn Vespers K. 339,” this lovely 2-part setting captures the intention of the original while creating an accessible work for young voices. With its recognizable melody and supportive piano accompaniment, this arrangement is a classic for your choir to learn and enjoy, and a staple for your choral library.

Li’l Liza Jane arr. Catherine DeLanoy
Spirited and fun for young voices, this folksong favorite sparkles with rhythmic energy! Individual part-singing as well as chordal and polyphonic passages fill the work, creating teaching moments for your rehearsal and ultimately an entertaining performance. Your guys will love it too!

Mysterious Moon by Janet Gardner
Longfellow’s mysterious words are beautifully set with a minor-mode melody, designed specifically for developing choirs. Staggered entrances create a canon effect, and independent voice parts form partner song moments. Stays comfortably within a one-octave range for all.

Pie Jesu by Victor C. Johnson
This luscious and sensitive setting of the traditional Latin text exudes a gentle simplicity with soaring melodic lines and a fluid accompaniment. A pronunciation and translation guide is provided.

Uskudar arr. Audrey Snyder
Expand your students’ horizons with this arrangement of a popular Turkish folksong that depicts the colorful, energetic music of the Middle East. Well-crafted and effective in performance, it includes an easily learned section in Turkish with additional English lyrics, pronunciation guide and translation. With oboe and tambourine.

When Midnight Mists Are Creeping by Greg Gilpin
This evocative text setting makes it easy for developing concert choirs to impress. Modest vocal ranges, logical voice leading, and manageable phrase lengths allow musicality to be the focus of rehearsal and the hallmark of performance.

Witness arr. Victor C. Johnson
Contemporary harmonies, cool syncopations in the vocal parts, and a rhythmically supportive accompaniment grace Victor C. Johnson’s high-energy setting of this favorite spiritual. This work is a marvelous choice for developing choirs in both concert and festival settings.

For more suggestions, check out our video below, click here to view our complete Middle School Choral promotion for Fall 2014, or contact us!