by Jen Sper, School Choral Specialist
The beginning of 2015 is a perfect opportunity to look back at what your students have learned so far this school year, and to look forward to the new and exciting musical challenges you will present to them in the coming months. As you prepare for your upcoming concerts, festivals or adjudicated events, we recommend these repertoire choices, carefully chosen from many new and classic publications as “the best of the best!”
for SATB Ensembles
Red River Valley arr. Jeffrey Douma
This arrangement of the beloved folk song was first premiered by the Yale Glee Club in the fall of 2006, and has since become an audience favorite. Probably referring to the Red River that flows north between Minnesota and North Dakota into Lake Winnipeg, the sentiment expressed by the text is immediately understood by anyone who has had to bid farewell too soon to a loved one.
Ecce Sacerdos Magnus by J.M. Haydn/ed. Martin Banner
Johann Michael Haydn was a prolific composer who wrote hundreds of compositions including a Requiem. The text lends itself for use at ordination or a festival liturgy. Scored for mixed chorus with 2 horns and strings, the work is also easily accompanied by keyboard.
Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal by Greg Gilpin
Greg Gilpin’s setting of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s time-honored text is a musical example of text painting set to lush harmonic phrases and lyric melodies. The simple yet supportive accompaniment allows the vocals to be showcased throughout. A concert or festival winner.
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.
for Women’s Ensembles
La Maumariee (J’entends le loup) arr. Joni Jensen
An incredibly dynamic adaptation of this beloved French folk song. Quick and rhythmic, the work reflects the determination and liveliness of the girl in the poem who won’t let others dictate her love or her future. Meter changes, body percussion and the dancing oboe and piano parts all work together in this challenging arrangement. Sure to be a favorite of choirs and audiences alike! With piano, oboe, opt. frame drum and body percussion.
Kyrie (from Mass in B-flat Major #10) by W.A. Mozart/arr. Arkadi Serper
From the Mozart Missa Brevis K.275, this delightful work has been adapted for treble voices. An excellent introduction to Classical era style and performance practice!
Samiotissa arr. Serper/Serper
Explore the music of Greece with this traditional folksong that tells the story of a boy who loves a girl from the island of Samos. In 7/8 meter, the choral parts are accessible and it’s easy to add Greek folk dance steps to create an authentic experience. Includes pronunciation guide.
Now My Heart by Jacques Arcadelt/arr. Patrick M. Liebergen
Arcadelt’s French chanson, transcribed into English, was originally written for SAT voices. “Now My Heart” is an excellent example of Arcadelt’s tendency to set chanson in chordal style with simultaneous pronunciation of the text by all voices. The use of optional percussion will only add to the Renaissance experience, and is sure to be a concert or festival crowd-pleaser.
for Men’s Ensembles
Flanders Fields by Paul A. Aitken
This distinguished setting of the McCrae text was originally published for mixed choirs soon after being named the first winner of the ACDA Brock Memorial composition contest. Aitken’s new women’s and men’s voicings are just as inspiring as the original.
Praise the Lord by Stephen M. Hopkins
Hopkins’ highly spirited and rhythmic adaptation of Psalms 148 & 150 masterfully imbeds the hymn tune Lobe den Herren before a unison “Praise to the Lord.” Majestic at times, this piece offers a plethora of musical moments for men’s choirs.
Loch Lomond arr. Russell Robinson
One of the most well-known of all Scottish folk songs, Robinson’s arrangement of “Loch Lomond” captures the flavor of the Gaelic language – Scottish sounds and textures in both male voices and piano accompaniment. Sensitive, accessible and just plain pretty, it is sure to be a favorite of any concert or festival program.
Click here for all of our suggestions for select pieces for adjudicated events – while we have specifically geared these selections to be appropriate for Ohio Music Education Association events, this quality repertoire is sure to be successful on any spring concert or other event as well! For even more recommendations, please contact us.
About the Author:
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.