News & Views Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Category: School Choral

Announcing SCHOOL CHORAL WEEK 2016! 09 February, 2016

Featuring talented clinicians from major publishers, Stanton’s summer choral clinics are a fantastic way to jump-start your school year! We always look forward to visiting with our regular customers, matching up faces with names of new attendees, and meeting teachers new to Stanton’s from across the country.

Mark your calendar for these dates:

Elementary General Music Clinic
Wednesday August 3, 2016
Clinician: Cristi Cary Miller
JoyOfSinging_30th_TINY THE JOY OF SINGING – 30th Anniversary Celebration!

for Young & Developing Choir
Thursday August 4, 2016
Clinicians: John Jacobson, Mac Huff, Cristi Cary Miller & Roger Emerson

for Middle & High School Choir
Friday August 5, 2016
Clinicians: John Jacobson, Mac Huff, Cristi Cary Miller & Roger Emerson

Stanton’s Super Session
Saturday August 6, 2016
Clinicians: Andy Beck, Greg Gilpin & Jen Sper

Not sure which session is best for you? Here are some helpful recommendations:

I teach elementary classroom music! (any grades K-6)
Stanton’s Elementary General Music Clinic is perfect for you! We’ll feature new resources, song collections, activities, and musicals especially designed and selected for classroom music teachers.

I teach elementary school choir! (grades 3-5)
You’ll find great options at both the Elementary General Music Clinic AND the Joy of Singing – Young & Developing Choir sessions (see above and below for more details).

I teach middle school choir! (any grades 5-8)
The Joy of Singing – Young & Developing Choir is a great option. This day will feature new music for the beginning choral singing level (unison or 2-part treble voices), in both octavos and song collections. You’ll also get movement ideas (including videos and choreography notes from John Jacobson), and three spotlight sessions on specific areas. We’ll even look at some musicals too!

If your middle school choir uses 3-part mixed/SAB or developing SATB literature, you may also want to consider the Joy of Singing – Middle & High School Choir and the Stanton’s Super Session (see below).

I teach high school choir! (grades 9-12)
Join us at the Joy of Singing – Middle & High School Choir session OR the Stanton’s Super Session!

At both sessions, we’ll present new choral music in all voicings (SATB/SAB/3-part mixed/2-part/women’s/men’s).

At Joy of Singing, we’ll present new music from Hal Leonard. You’ll also get movement ideas (including videos and choreography notes from John Jacobson), and three spotlight sessions on specific areas. Joy of Singing is usually about 50% concert/festival literature and 50% pop.

At Super Session, we’ll present new music from many publishers including Alfred, Shawnee Press, Heritage Music Press, Choristers Guild, BriLee and Carl Fischer. Super Session is usually about 75% concert/festival literature and 25% pop.

I teach middle school AND high school choir! (any grades 5-12)
Consider the Joy of Singing – Young & Developing Choir, the Joy of Singing – Middle & High School Choir AND the Stanton’s Super Session. Any (or all three!) days will provide you with lots of new repertoire and teaching ideas!

Also in August 2016:

Sacred Choral Reading Session
Saturday August 13, 2016
Clinician: Mark Hayes
(no pre-registration for this session)
Excellence in Choral Literature
Saturday August 27, 2016
Clinician: James Gallagher

Registration will open on April 1st. For more detailed information regarding any of these clinics, contact the choral department at 1-800-426-8742, extension 1. Shop Stanton’s for all your sheet music needs!


Suggestions for Choral Adjudications 2016 22 January, 2016

recommended by Jen Sper, School Choral Music Specialist

The beginning of 2016 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 recent publications as the “best of the best!”

for SATB Ensembles
Jenny by Nick Myers
Fluid vocal lines and a sensitive text shine in this powerful, yet heartfelt, recollection of a loved one no longer here with us. Perfectly capturing the essence of love that lives forever, it is both touching and haunting at the same time.

Juravit Dominus by J.M. Haydn/ed. Martin Banner
“Juravit Dominus” was completed by Johann Michael Haydn in 1784 in Salzburg. This edition adheres closely to the autograph score, and is an excellent example of Haydn’s work and of the Classical period.

Carnavalito arr. Will Lopes
This Bolivian folksong is alive with rhythm and movement! Body and vocal percussion give this a cappella setting intensity and drive – a wonderful showcase for mixed choruses in school and community!

Evening Star by Victor C. Johnson
Soaring melodic lines, lush harmonies and an artfully crafted accompaniment grace this gorgeous piece, based on a poem by Edgar Allan Poe. The Cello obbligato adds a special touch to this inspiring and reflective concert work. “O evening star, gently glowing star, fill our souls with peace tonight. Play for us the gentle strains of your symphony of light.”

for Women’s Ensembles
Rosas Pandan arr. George G. Hernandez
This Filipino or Visayan folk song is about joy and love. George Hernandez, conductor of the Saringhimig Singers from San Francisco has captured the native flavor in this rousing arrangement. Selected for the Ron Kean Multicultural series, high school and college choirs will love it.

Ride the Chariot arr. Stacey V. Gibbs
The spiritual comes alive with a plethora of upbeat rhythms and drama in this lively setting. As can be expected from Stacey Gibbs’s spiritual arrangements, a thrilling performance is sure to be given!

Drying Their Wings by Greg Gilpin
Greg’s stunning setting of the Vachel Lindsay poem features an expressive accompaniment that flows and weaves underneath the soaring melodic lines which seem to rise and fall, as if flying. This exquisite text allows for interpretation on many levels and sparks imaginative imagery. Also a wonderful teaching piece, it is a superb choice for concert or festival. A Learning Resource Page is included.

Holla Hi, Holla Ho! arr. Dave & Jean Perry
Arranger Jean Perry first heard this clever German folk song as a young girl singing around a fire at Girl Scout camp. It was so enchanting, she never forgot it. Now set for SSA voices, opportunities abound for teaching rhythmic precision, tonic, sub-dominant and tonic chord relationships, and independent part singing. A wonderful piece that will delight audiences and treble choirs of all levels.

for Men’s Ensembles
The Lone Wild Bird by Richard Burchard
Selected for the Georgia Music Educator’s Association High School All State Men’s Chorus in 2016, Richard Burchard has composed a sensitive and touching melody to this famous 19th century text. The harmonies match not only the text but Richard’s style of warmth. There is no divisi in this piece, it is consistently 4 part men – great for high school.

Hard Times Come Again No More arr. Alice Parker
One of the sweetest of Stephen Foster’s songs, balancing nostalgia with heartfelt lament. Seems made for male chorus, with the kind of piano or guitar accompaniment that would’ve been found in 19th century homes. Very accessible vocal writing with a simple accompaniment, making this a fantastic option for every men’s chorus.

Gloria by Antonio Vivaldi/arr. John Leavitt
From Vivaldi’s ever-popular Gloria, this is the joyous opening movement arranged for male voices. An excellent selection for concert or festival!

Goin’ Down to Cairo arr. Jeanne Julseth
Specifically designed for young men’s voices, Jeanne’s rousing, spirited arrangement features a vocal hoedown section which terraces the vocal parts one by one until there is a sense of vocal energy which demands a sudden ending to the frenzy. Several surprises occur along the way utilizing rhythmic repetition which is indicative of folk music. The tenor line resides within a cambiata register, staying true to the beginning stages of unchanged voices.

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 Sper has been with Stanton’s since 2006. A former middle school and high school choral director, she holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music. An active choral singer and accompanist throughout the Central Ohio area, she also enjoys good food, running (to counteract the good food…) and the Muppets.


Edgar Allan Poe in the Choral Classroom 20 January, 2016

recommended by Rachel Steele and Jen Sper, School Choral Specialists

When we think of Edgar Allan Poe, poems like “The Raven” and stories like “The Tell-Tale Heart” come to mind. Sometimes we forget that this American master wrote not only of the supernatural, but more traditional subjects as well. Here are two new chorals that we love with completely different moods by this master of the macabre!

evening starEvening Star by Victor C. Johnson

Poe’s ode to the beauty of the moon is the complete opposite of what we expect from a Poe text. “O evening star, gently glowing star, fill our souls with peace tonight. Play for us the gentle strains of your symphony of light.” This beautiful piece is precisely what we love to see from Victor Johnson: a beautiful masterwork text, a soaring melody, interesting (but not difficult) harmonies and a well-crafted piano part make this a perfect piece for your fall/holiday program or concert/festival performances later in the year. Available in SATBThree-Part Mixed, and SSA.

 

lakeThe Lake by Jay Althouse

This piece, on the other hand, will make sure you never enjoy a vacation by the water again! “My infant spirit would awake; To the terror of the lone lake.” Dissonant harmonies and staccato singing make this a fun challenge for your group. The slower middle section is packed with fermate and caesurae, making it a wonderful opportunity for less experienced groups to work on expression and interpretation of conducting gestures. Available in SATB.

Extension activities abound when you program both of these pieces on the same concert. Consider slide shows or artwork with each piece, or partner with your language arts department for an entire Poe week right around Halloween. The possibilities are endless!

For more recommendations give us a call at 1-800-42-MUSIC ext. 1 or check out the “Favorite Texts/Poets” section of our Listening Lab.

About the Authors:

Rachel Steele has been at Stanton’s since 2013. She previously taught middle school and high school band and choir for 13 years, and holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees 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!

A former middle school and high school choral director, Jen Sper holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music. An active choral singer and accompanist throughout the Central Ohio area, she also enjoys good food, running (to counteract the good food…) and the Muppets.


“A Cappella” by Deke Sharon 13 January, 2016

recommended by Jen Sper, School Choral Music Specialist

We’re excited to announce that the new resource book from a cappella master Deke Sharon, “A Cappella” is NOW AVAILABLE!

More than any other person, Deke is responsible for the current success of pop a cappella. Founder of the House Jacks (the original “rock band without instruments”), Deke continues to influence through his work with “The Sing-Off,” “Pitch Perfect,” “Pitch Perfect 2,” and “Vocalosity.”

Combine Deke’s expertise with that of directors Ben Spalding and Brody McDonald, add a foreword by Ben Folds, throw in advice from contributors like Peter Hollens, and you have the most comprehensive volume ever created on the subject of contemporary a cappella singing.

Find more valuable a cappella resources on our website, or contact us for more information!

About the Author:
Jen Sper has been with Stanton’s since 2006. A former middle school and high school choral director, she holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music. An active choral singer and accompanist throughout the Central Ohio area, she also enjoys good food, running (to counteract the good food…) and the Muppets.


GLORY 06 January, 2016

recommended by Jen Sper, School Choral Music Specialist

GLORY arr. Mark Brymer

The dramatic song by American rap artist and actor Common and singer/songwriter John Legend is featured in the historical film drama “Selma,” based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches led by Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights leaders of the time. A powerful learning opportunity for a new generation!

About the Author:
Jen Sper has been with Stanton’s since 2006. A former middle school and high school choral director, she holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music. An active choral singer and accompanist throughout the Central Ohio area, she also enjoys good food, running (to counteract the good food…) and the Muppets.


STANTON’S SPOTLIGHT – Middle School Show Choir 30 December, 2015

middle school show choir

recommended by Rachel Steele and Jen Sper, School Choral Specialists

Nothing strikes fear in the hearts of choir directors quite like the words “middle school show choir.” It’s a great recruiting ensemble that builds your program, but it can be very difficult to find appropriate literature. You want the kids to enjoy their music, but you don’t want it to be all current pop or “bubblegum” with no substance. You want to do some partner dancing, but you don’t want it to be too “touchy-feely” at this age. You don’t want the boys to constantly have to sing about lovey-dovey stuff, but the girls just eat that up. What’s a choral director to do?!?

singin in the rainMay we recommend Singin’ In the Rain? This classic tune from the Gene Kelly movie musical of the same name is arranged here for choir by Mac Huff. It’s perfect for middle school show choir! Here are some reasons why:

  • It’s got a happy, positive theme (“I’m singin’ in the rain, just singin’ in the rain. What a glorious feelin’, I’m happy again. I’m laughin’ at clouds so dark up above, the sun’s in my heart and I’m ready for love.”) that isn’t overly focused on couples and relationships. Plus, you never have to worry if the lyrics are school-appropriate!
  • Speaking of not being overly focused on couples, it IS the perfect opportunity for your first partner dance. Don’t have enough guys?  That’s ok, pairing up girls with each other can be lots of fun on this song too. And if you break out the umbrellas, you can skip the hand holding!
  • When it comes to giving your boys a strong dancing role model, you can’t do better than Gene Kelly! There’s lots of great moves that you can easily lift from the original.
  • The phrases in this arrangement are VERY short, giving students lots of opportunities to breathe without destroying the melodic line.
  • This particular arrangement comes in both a 2-part and SAB voicing. If you’re group has the balance, numbers, range and skill to do the SAB, that’s wonderful! If you’re just starting out or have a small and inexperienced group, the 2-Part can be easily adjusted for boys with changing voice. It has many unison passages as well, which can be opportunities for solos, small groups or more complex choreography.

For other great pieces for your middle school students give us a call at 1-800-42-MUSIC ext 1 or come on in and visit us!

About the Authors:

Rachel Steele has been at Stanton’s since 2013. She previously taught middle school and high school band and choir for 13 years, and holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees 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!

A former middle school and high school choral director, Jen Sper holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music. An active choral singer and accompanist throughout the Central Ohio area, she also enjoys good food, running (to counteract the good food…) and the Muppets.


News from the Music Publishing World – Choristers Guild Sing! 21 December, 2015

Sing2015-2016

recommended by Rachel Steele and Jen Sper

If you’re a teacher, you probably don’t pay much attention to publishers. You sometimes look for composers and arrangers that you like, but you barely give the publisher a second glance. However, we’ve got a new publisher on the scene this year for school choral music and we promise, it’s worth your time!

Mary Lynn Lightfoot has long been a name associated with quality school choral music. Longtime editor for Heritage Music Press (the educational arm of Lorenz publishing), this year Mary Lynn moved to Choristers Guild. Choristers Guild has always been a sacred publisher, but this year Ms. Lightfoot edited their first catalog aimed at the school market, entitled Sing!

This promotion (pictured at left) should have arrived in your school mailbox sometime in August. If you didn’t receive one, you can contact Choristers Guild through their website and request one here.

If you haven’t looked at this promotion, here are some reasons we think it’s worth your time:

  • First and foremost, the music is GREAT! When we do our initial listening for our choral promotions, we consider a publisher’s release “strong” if 30% or so of their titles make it through our first round. Out of this promotion, EIGHTY PERCENT of the titles make it through Round One (for more information about how we pick titles for promotion, check out our previous post on the subject).
  • When it comes right down to picking the 75 or so titles that we promote for the year, the competition gets even tougher. This year, SING! had the highest percentage of their new issues promoted. We picked FORTY PERCENT of their new releases for promotion. The next best major publisher had just 25%.
  • Many of the octavos come with a Learning Resource Page. Printed on the front inside cover, these offer coding from the new National Standards for Music Education (for use in lesson planning), as well as classroom activities, extension activities (for groupwork, homework, accelerated students, etc.), vocabulary and more.
  • We especially loved that the activities are age-appropriate. For example, two part octavo activities are clearly aimed at upper elementary/early middle school students, while SATB octavos have more sophisticated material for late middle school or early high school kids.

For more information about titles we especially liked, check out our middle school and high school promotions on our website, or give us a call at 1-800-42-MUSIC ext. 1.

About the Authors:

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!

A former middle school and high school choral director, Jen Sper holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music. An active choral singer and accompanist throughout the Central Ohio area, she also enjoys good food, running (to counteract the good food…) and the Muppets.


Happy Birthday Alice Parker! 16 December, 2015

Alice Parker

by Rachel Steele and Jen Sper, School Choral Specialists

It’s hard to believe,  but Alice Parker turns 90 years young today! This elder stateswoman of choral music was born in 1925. She studied music at Smith College and received her master’s degree from the Juilliard School where she studied choral conducting with Robert Shaw. Her collaboration with Shaw continued for the duration of his career, and her catalog of folk songs, spirituals and holiday music (both alone and with Shaw) are staples of the choral literature. She is the recipient of 6 honorary doctorates and the Smith College Medal.

At the age of 90, Ms. Parker is still an active teacher, clinician, conductor and composer! Her non-profit organization Melodious Accord is sponsoring a project called Alice Is 90. They are asking for choral conductors to video record their groups singing her works anytime between December 2015 and December 2016 and upload the video to YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook with #Aliceis90. Looking for a way to participate? Give us a call at 1-800-42-MUSIC ext. 1; and we’d be happy to send you a 21 Day Trial or suggest something appropriate for your group.

Speaking of being an active composer, Stanton’s is happy to recommend these two new men’s chorals from Alice Parker, both in TTBB voicings:

hard times come againHard Times Come Again No More by S. Foster/arr. Parker (00144509)….$2.25

One of the sweetest of Stephen Foster’s songs, balancing nostalgia with heartfelt lament. Seems made for male chorus, with the kind of piano or guitar accompaniment that would’ve been found in 19th century homes. Very accessible vocal writing with a simple accompaniment, making this a fantastic option for every men’s chorus.

cindy.jpgCindy arr. Alice Parker (SBMP1215)………………………..$1.95

“I wish I was an apple a hangin’ from a tree, and ev’ry time that Cindy passed she’d take a bite of me.” Guys will delight in singing this clever arrangement of the American folksong. The versatility that the elegant writing affords makes this piece appropriate for choirs of all sizes.

 

 

About the Authors:

Rachel Steele has been at Stanton’s since 2013. She previously taught middle school and high school band and choir for 13 years, and holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees 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!

A former middle school and high school choral director, Jen Sper holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music. An active choral singer and accompanist throughout the Central Ohio area, she also enjoys good food, running (to counteract the good food…) and the Muppets.


STANTON’S SPOTLIGHT: World Music for Choir 18 November, 2015

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 Stanton’s Spotlight feature, we will put a special focus on one piece or concept that we particularly enjoy, and tell you how it can serve you and your group.

arianby Jen Sper, School Choral Specialist

Programming music from around the world has so many benefits for your ensemble – new rhythmic concepts, unfamiliar languages and dialects to explore, and a picture of the people and traditions in cultures across the globe. Here are a few of my favorite new publications, for choirs of all voicings and difficulty levels:

FOR HIGH SCHOOL CHOIRS
Carnavalito arr. Will Lopes
This Bolivian folksong is alive with rhythm and movement! Body and vocal percussion give this a cappella setting intensity and drive – a wonderful showcase for mixed choruses in school and community!

FOR MIDDLE SCHOOL CHOIRS
Singabahambayo arr. Victor C. Johnson
Fun to sing and surprisingly rehearsal friendly, this South African musical celebration of freedom and hope is sure to have instant appeal. Lending itself to simple stage choreography and with an exciting, driving beat throughout, choirs and audiences alike will find themselves enthralled by this Victor Johnson original.

FOR TREBLE CHOIRS
Doraji arr. Yoojin Muhn
Doraji is one of the most popular Korean folksongs. It is about a wild mountain flower with spiritual essence and this arrangement includes both the gentle beauty of the flower as well as the excitement from those who found it. For treble choirs, this is an excellent multicultural concert selection.

FOR MEN’S CHOIRS
El Chuchumbe arr. Jorge Cozatl
Selected for the new Music of the Americas Multicultural Series from North Dakota State University, this zesty piece hails from Mexico. The encouraging message is that “chuchumbe” will reach you whether things go good or bad. It is similar to saying the rhythm or dance of life will positively infect you no matter what. And what a great dance it is, with hand percussion bringing additional rhythm to the piece. The verses are so playful it is appropriate for performers to alter the words based on the region in which they are singing.

FOR ELEMENTARY CHOIRS
Iro Ye arr. Jill Gallina
This lullaby is from the Republic of Benin, a country in Western Africa. The Mina language of the traditional melody is paired with an original melody in English creating a loving partner-style song with optional flute. A simple choral that creates many multicultural learning opportunities and a lovely performance piece.

You can find more World Music options on our website – or, drop us an email for suggestions personalized to your choir!

About the Author:
Jen Sper has been with Stanton’s since 2006. A former middle school and high school choral director, she holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music. An active choral singer and accompanist throughout the Central Ohio area, she also enjoys good food, running (to counteract the good food…) and the Muppets.


BEHIND THE SCENES: True Stories from Stanton’s 13 November, 2015

compiled by Dan C., Stanton’s resident staff jokester

qcBjqgxc5In the fall when school cranks back up, Stanton’s gets a huge increase in the number of phone calls and emails requesting all kinds of things. And with so many communications there is naturally an increase in requests, questions and comments that make you go, “Really?!?” Such as:

“I’ve got a high school brass trio that wants to go to Solo and Ensemble competition.
We’re in a state with no required list we have to follow.
The students want to play Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire. Do you have that for brass trio?” [Really?!?]

“Do you know of any pieces for Alp Horn and Band?” [Really?!?]

“I need a copy of the piano piece Fur Elise by Beethoven – but I need it for harmonica!” [Really?!?]

sax_xmas_decWe’ve mentioned the escalating request in previous blogs. Here’s a recent one:
“I need music for a saxophone quartet” (Okay…)
“To be featured with a concert band” (Ummm…)
“On a Christmas piece!” (Yow!)

Then there are the ones that just make you scratch your head…

“I’m waiting as fast as I can for a Purchase Order number to come from our treasurer.” [How fast can you wait?!?]

“Do you folks carry trumpet muzzles?” [actually, what a great idea!]

Trying to read a teacher’s writing, a customer asked for the Hal Leonard “Interception” book. We knew he meant “Intermediate” and also figured he’s a football fan!

Recent email:
Customer Question – “I have an extensive collection of sheet music. Do you purchase at all?”
Stanton’s Reply – “WE have an extensive collection of sheet music. Do YOU purchase at all?”
After that tongue-in-cheek wisecrack, the employee then went on to explain a bit about how the retail sheet music business works.

Here are a few phone conversations:
Customer: “I found an item I need on your website. The catalog number is HB01”
Stanton’s employee, upon typing the number into the computer and finding that it is a very popular method book for horn by Fred Teuber: “Oh yes – the Teuber book.”
Customer: “No, I think it’s for French Horn!”

Customer with a pronounced southern accent: “I’m looking for Bob and Maria.” (at least that’s what it sounded like!)
Stanton’s employee: “I may not have heard you correctly – Bob and Maria?”
Customer: “No, A-V-E, Ave Maria.”
Stanton’s employee: “Oh, of course! I’m so sorry! Do you want the Bach/Gounod or the Schubert?” JeopardyCustomer: “Heck, I don’t know who writes ’em, I just play ’em!”

Let’s play Jeopardy…
The answer is:
“No sir, I don’t know which arrangement of Amazing Grace you just heard on the bus this morning.”
We’ll let you come up with the question! :)


Run, Mary, Run 09 November, 2015

recommended by Jen Sper, School Choral Specialist

Run, Mary, Run by Brian Tate
Encouragement, determination and fundamental human rights sing out in this spiritual with the powerful line, “You got a right to the tree of life!” Sung with diverse range of vocal sound in a loose, gospel-like style, adding the optional percussion and solo builds the piece with intensity and drive throughout. Easy harmony and repetitive form make this an excellent choice in teaching culture and style.

This exciting piece has also already been selected for performance at this year’s OMEA Professional Development Conference in Cincinnati!

About the Author:
Jen Sper has been with Stanton’s since 2006. A former middle school and high school choral director, she holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music. An active choral singer and accompanist throughout the Central Ohio area, she also enjoys good food, running (to counteract the good food…) and the Muppets.


CASA for Developing Singers 02 November, 2015

by Jen Sper, School Choral Specialist

acapella-1024x682Between the Pitch Perfect movies, NBC’s “The Sing-Off,” and the phenomenon that is Pentatonix, it seems like a cappella singing is everywhere! This year, both master a cappella arranger Deke Sharon and Ohio teacher Alex Phan bring us an assortment of pop arrangements in the CASA style for younger ensembles. Deke’s SSA arrangements are great for girls in young high school groups or mixed middle school ensembles (the alto part works for girls or changing boys), and Alex’s SSAB setting is perfect for middle school with vocal parts to fit their changing voices.

No vocal percussion? No problem! These arrangements are so well-crafted that adding VP is not necessary. (But, let your kids play around with some VP anyway – who knows, you could find a real talent among your ranks!)

Best Day of My Life arr. Deke Sharon
Practice your beatbox skills with this 2014 pop hit from the indie rock band American Authors. The upbeat folk/pop acoustic with a fun chorus transfers beautifully to “vocals only.”

Cups (When I’m Gone) arr. Deke Sharon
The trailer for the highly anticipated “Pitch Perfect 2” gives us a sneak peek at the music for the new film, including this expanded version of Anna Kendrick’s breakout hit “Cups.” After a sweet, reflective opening verse, it moves into tempo for a more expanded treatment.

Girls Just Want to Have Fun arr. Deke Sharon
Celebrate the awesome ’80s with this Cyndi Lauper hit from 1984 and develop some great a cappella singing skills at the same time!

Happy arr. Deke Sharon
Younger or beginning a cappella groups will love this creative and upbeat song from Pharrell arranged for unaccompanied voices!

Roar arr. Alex Phan
This super-charged anthem of empowerment is arranged especially for pop a cappella groups that are just getting started. With smart voice-leading, quick success is guaranteed.

Royals arr. Deke Sharon
The pop megahit and Grammy-winning song of the year by Lorde will be an accessible and fun introduction to pop a cappella for younger SSA choirs!

Wake Me Up! arr. Deke Sharon
From Swedish DJ and artist Avicii, this 2013 chart hit in a fun and accessible a cappella setting!

About the Author:
Jen Sper has been with Stanton’s since 2006. A former middle school and high school choral director, she holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music. An active choral singer and accompanist throughout the Central Ohio area, she also enjoys good food, running (to counteract the good food…) and the Muppets.


The Stanton’s Difference: Bring Your Students! 28 October, 2015

by Ken Tilger, Band Education Specialist –

It’s been a while since we’ve added to this series of posts, but we were recently reminded of one more way that Stanton’s is special. Besides making it a road trip to work with our knowledgeable staff, you can also bring your students!

studentsRecently the band director from Versailles High School made the trip to Stanton’s via school bus (comfy!) and brought about 20 of her band students along. While she was previewing OMEA required concert band titles, her students were busy choosing their own solo and ensemble selections from our vast selection. What a great use of time, and a unique experience for the students! Besides finding their solo or ensemble piece with some guidance from their teacher, they were also free to check out a whole host of method and etude books, pop play-alongs, and holiday collections that were on-hand, as well. Honestly, one of the most satisfying feelings I get from state professional (MEA) conferences is seeing the high school all-state musicians excitedly finding repertoire that they want, books they have been recommended, and music just to play with their friends. It’s the ultimate treasure hunt!

Truly budding musicians...

Coffee = Truly budding musicians

While a number of directors visit us on Saturdays or professional days throughout the school year, and some make a summer pilgrimage from nearby states, it is not unusual for us to see a school bus full of students pull into our parking lot about once or twice a year (don’t worry, we only cower briefly). After a quick “lay-of-the-land” tour, we are happy to turn them loose to shop, and they are welcome to take advantage of our first-hand instrumental knowledge, as well. We often hear from educators who have moved on to other states that they do not have a music supplier like Stanton’s even within driving distance, and many do not let customers freely browse all of their titles. Besides having directors take advantage of stopping by the store, what can be better than bringing aspiring musicians (and tomorrow’s teachers!) to musical Candy Land!?

About the Author:
Ken is a former band director, and has been with Stanton’s since 2004. He always feels the urge to read Edgar Allan Poe, the original novels featuring traditional Hollywood monsters, and other macabre tales this time of year, yet never does.


Christmas Pops! 21 October, 2015

by Jen Sper, School Choral Specialist

Bring some fun to your holiday concerts with these great pop arrangements for choir – your audience will love it!

Santa, Bring My Baby Back (To Me) arr. Ryan O’Connell
Put some “Elvis” into your concert with this hit from 1957. Complete with combo parts and voiced for mixed, women and male choirs, this arrangement rocks the stage and makes a great novelty number with movement, costumes and staging, too.

Here We Come A-Caroling arr. Kirby Shaw
This Calypso style arrangement is set in a joyful a cappella voicing that will be a total blast to rehearse and perform. A great addition to holiday concerts, caroling and community performances!

Three Jazzy Bell Carols arr. Jay Rouse
Now in a NEW SSAA voicing, this bestselling choral of three, short a cappella jazz arrangements is a fabulous find for the holidays. “Ding Dong Merrily On High,” “Jingle Bells” and “Carol of the Bells” have been creatively arranged in tempo and style forming a wonderful collection of harmonies and rhythm for your holiday concert.

This Christmas arr. Paul Langford
What a modern holiday standard this song has become and covered by a wide range of artists! This chart-topping hit is set with a steady, a cappella vocal groove worthy of any jazz choir or ensemble. A familiar tune with a fresh new sound for your holiday concert.

For more holiday concert suggestions, visit the Stanton’s Staff Selections portion of our website!

About the Author:
Jen Sper has been with Stanton’s since 2006. A former middle school and high school choral director, she holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music. An active choral singer and accompanist throughout the Central Ohio area, she also enjoys good food, running (to counteract the good food…) and the Muppets.


A Merry Medieval Christmas 16 October, 2015

by Jen Sper, School Choral Specialist

Is it the poetry? The dance-like quality? The hand drum, or the finger cymbals? There’s just something about all of these qualities combined that make Medieval and Renaissance music feel particularly special on a holiday or winter concert. Here are a few suggestions for upcoming concerts, for both high school and middle school choirs:

Gaudete! arr.Michael Engelhardt
From Piae Cantiones (1582), this SATB setting of “Gaudete!” is in a progressive style well-suited to the medieval melody. Its energy is derived from the accented rhythms and dance-like percussive elements – all adding to the joyous nature of this piece.

Veni, Veni Emmanuel arr. Michael John Trotta
Trotta conceived this well-known Latin text as a dialogue between supplicants and the Creator, a combination of old and new. He masterfully juxtaposes a personal longing for something still to come with the steadfast assurance of something ever-present, yet not always seen. While the original theme is associated with the Christmas season, the wider theme of longing for something greater is universal to the human condition and allows this piece to be programmed throughout the year. A fitting piece for any concert, contest or festival.

Sing We with Gladness Antony Holborne/arr. Audrey Snyder
Based on a Galliard by the Elizabethan composer Antony Holborne, this adaptation for voices includes a festive text that will be ideal for madrigal dinners, concerts and holiday programs.

Je Ne Fus Jamais Si Aise Pierre Certon/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.

Lirum, Lirum Thomas Morley/arr. Patrick M. Liebergen
From Morley’s “The First Booke of Balletts to Five Voyces,” the original five-part version is featured here as an arrangement for three-part mixed voices with an optional baritone part. Modernized words new dynamic indications and optional keyboard and hand drum parts provided by renowned arranger Patrick Liebergen are also included. Quintessential Morley – this must-sing madrigal is well-suited for ensembles of all sizes, and is a must for festival or contest.

White is in the Winter Night arr. Audrey Snyder
From the “And Winter Came” album, Enya brings her unique musical and lyric ability in this appealing winter soundscape! Evoking a quasi-Renaissance dance feel, this will make a wonderful opening number or processional for a holiday or winter program.

For more suggestions, visit the Stanton’s Staff Selections portion of our website!

About the Author:
Jen Sper has been with Stanton’s since 2006. A former middle school and high school choral director, she holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music. An active choral singer and accompanist throughout the Central Ohio area, she also enjoys good food, running (to counteract the good food…) and the Muppets.

 


STANTON’S SPOTLIGHT: Truly Brave 07 October, 2015

truly brave

recommended by Rachel Steele and Jen Sper, School Choral Specialists

If you haven’t read our post about how we pick choral promotions, you might not know that Jen and I spend hours and hours listening to new choral music each year. The publisher with the largest number of new issues is Hal Leonard, with 230 new pieces this year. As you can imagine, it’s quite daunting to start on this bin full of music, which is often still in manuscript form. The pieces are sent in alphabetical order, so by the time we got to “Truly Brave,” we were feeling more than a little jaded.

Even so, about 2 pages into this song, both of us were crying. Yes, it really is that good. Inspired by patients fighting childhood cancer, Hoda Kotb of “The Today Show” brought together Sara Bareilles and Cyndi Lauper to create this mashup of “Brave” and “True Colors.” I’m not generally a fan of mash-ups, but these two songs fit together so effortlessly that it never feels forced or jerky. It doesn’t hurt that both songs are also great in their own right. If you only find room for one pop selection in your program this year, it should be “Truly Brave“!

Looking for an even more meaningful experience for your students?  You could try…

  • Doing this with combined choirs. It’s available in SATB, 3-Part Mixed and 2 Part, so you could teach it to your groups of all levels and put them together. No room for all those kids on the stage? No problem – spread them out around the auditorium for a surround sound experience!
  • Dedicating this piece to a particular student (or students) in your program or school that is/are fighting their own battle, be it with cancer or anything else. Allow your students to make the personal connection and you’ll create a moment they won’t forget.
  • Asking your students for input about what they think it means to be “Truly Brave.” They could give you letters, essays, pictures or anything that you can use to create a slide show. Project this during the concert, and you won’t have a dry eye in the house!

About the Authors:

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!

A former middle school and high school choral director, Jen Sper holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music. An active choral singer and accompanist throughout the Central Ohio area, she also enjoys good food, running (to counteract the good food…) and the Muppets.


FREE Holiday Choral Reading Session! 05 October, 2015

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 10, 2015
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.


Pentatonix for Choir 25 September, 2015

d747565199b4aa8388b50c766d38f5fe.650x430x1by Jen Sper, School Choral Specialist

With their unique arrangement style, tight vocal harmonies, and creative cover performances, Pentatonix is one of the most exciting a cappella groups around. After winning the third season of “The Sing-Off,” they have made masterful use of social media in expanding their fan base and distributing their music. Even if YOU haven’t heard of them, you can be sure that your students HAVE!

“But my ensemble isn’t quite ready for arrangements this difficult…,” or “I don’t know anything about vocal percussion!” you may say. Don’t worry! Here are some options based on the signature PTX arrangements – perform them entirely a cappella for the most authentic experience, or use the optional accompaniments and CDs for added support.

Save the World/Don’t You Worry Child arr. Mark Brymer – an accessible setting of the mash-up by Swedish House Mafia, available SATB, SAB and SSA

Rather Be arr. Mark Brymer – vocal showcase from Clean Bandit, available SATB, SAB and SSAA

Let It Go arr. Roger Emerson – the epic single from “Frozen,” available SATB, SAB and SSA

Silent Night arr. Roger Emerson – a unique arrangement of the beloved carol, available SATB, SAB and SSA

That’s Christmas to Me arr. Mark Brymer – a Pentatonix holiday original, available SATB, SAB and SSAA

White Winter Hymnal arr. Alan Billingsley – this Fleet Foxes cover uses creative body percussion, available SATB, SAB and SSAA

About the Author:
Jen Sper has been with Stanton’s since 2006. A former middle school and high school choral director, she holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music. An active choral singer and accompanist throughout the Central Ohio area, she also enjoys good food, running (to counteract the good food…) and the Muppets.


Happy 70th Birthday John Rutter 24 September, 2015

by Jen Sper, Choral Music Specialist

E53There’s always a little buzz of excitement in the Choral Department when a new piece by John Rutter comes across our desks. His works feel like old friends, even the first time you hear them – warm and comforting. With his 70th birthday in 2015, both Oxford University Press and Hinshaw Music are re-releasing a number of his most seminal compositions in new Anniversary Editions, with accompanying notes on both the music and performance written by Rutter himself.

Rutter’s work has strong footing in both the school and church choral markets, and an especially strong presence in the Christmas repertoire – his recordings with the Cambridge Singers are as Christmassy as the little drummer boy eating fruitcake!

Much of his secular music is less familiar, but equally well-crafted and memorable. Seeds Grow to Plants sets a lovely and thoughtful text about the cycle of life, and larger works such as When Icicles Hang and The Reluctant Dragon (which includes the charmingly funny Banquet Fugue) are refreshingly creative.

John Rutter was born in London in 1945 and received his first musical education as a chorister at Highgate School. He went on to study music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he wrote his first published compositions and conducted his first recording while still a student. His compositional career has embraced both large and small-scale choral works, orchestral and instrumental pieces, a piano concerto, two children’s operas, music for television, and specialist writing for such groups as the Philip Jones Brass Ensemble and the King’s Singers. From 1975 to 1979 he was Director of Music at Clare College, whose choir he directed in a number of broadcasts and recordings. After giving up the Clare post to allow more time for composition, he formed the Cambridge Singers as a professional chamber choir primarily dedicated to recording, and he now divides his time between composition and conducting.

For more information about John Rutter and his music, please visit his website.

Stanton’s Recommends: For the Beauty of the Earth, Candlelight Carol, Christ Is the Morning Star, Blow Blow Thou Winter Wind, Banquet Fugue, Seeds Grow to Plants

This article was originally posted Jan. 12th, 2015, and has been re-posted today in honor of the composer’s 70th birthday!

About the Author:
Jen Sper 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.


Voice Lessons in the Choral Classroom 14 September, 2015

by Jen Sper, School Choral Specialist

In many middle school and high school situations, the choral director is the only voice teacher most students will have – what a responsibility! And, what a worthwhile pursuit! Proper vocal technique opens up your choir to a much greater variety of literature, more expressive, sensitive singing, and a more satisfying experience for everyone in the room.

A varied set of warm-up exercises is of course your first step in developing vocal technique in your choir, but today I want to share some repertoire choices that can reinforce these skills.

Litanei (D. 343) by Franz Schubert/arr. John Leavitt
Schubert’s famous art song has been adapted for use with unison chorus accompanied by keyboard or the optional strings, creating an excellent opportunity to develop vocal tone, expression and diction. Perfect for treble, men’s or mixed voices.

Die Forelle by Franz Schubert/arr. D. Jason Bishop
The famous art song by Franz Schubert has been arranged for 3-part treble voices and tells of a casual observer admiring the movements of a frisky fish as it darts below the surface. The tone of the music changes when, to the observer’s horror, a fisherman puts an end to both his and the trout’s merriment by snagging the fish on his hook and reeling him in.

Gretchen am Spinnrade by Franz Schubert/arr. D. Jason Bishop
In this, one of Schubert’s first and most successful art songs, Gretchen reflects on her sudden infatuation with Faust. The piano accompaniment, with its relentless sixteenth notes in the right hand, depicts both Gretchen’s accumulating madness and the perpetual motion of the spinning wheel.

Svegliatevi nel core by G.F. Handel/arr. Brandon Williams
Translating to English “Awaken My Heart,” this da capo aria from Handel’s opera Giulio Cesare has been arranged for SSA voices for a delightful choral showcase. With options for drama and expression, choirs will enjoy the opportunity to experience this work of the Baroque era.

Singing these songs with your choir is a great opportunity to introduce young musicians to art song literature, and the wonderful marriage of music and text contained therein. For more concert suggestions for your ensemble, please contact us.

About the Author:
Jen Sper has been with Stanton’s since 2006. A former middle school and high school choral director, she holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Baldwin Wallace College Conservatory of Music. An active choral singer and accompanist throughout the Central Ohio area, she also enjoys good food, running (to counteract the good food…) and the Muppets.