News & Views Friday, May 24, 2019

Creative Programming: Singing in Unison Wednesday, September 19, 2018

recommended by Jen Sper, School Choral Music Specialist

As choir directors, it can be easy to focus on programming repertoire with more and more voice parts (4 part divisi! 8 part divisi!! And more!!!), and mentally associating “more parts” with “more difficult,” and a “more accomplished” ensemble.

But choral directors also know how very challenging singing in unison can be! Programming unison music on your concert – at the middle school, high school, or even collegiate level – can provide your audience with a unique insight into the choral art, and how your ensemble builds skills that lead up to your “final product.” Here are a few suggestions for unison music-making with your ensembles:

leon-08743259-fThe King’s Singers Book of Rounds, Canons and Partsongs
This delightful collection of 99 rounds, canons and partsongs makes a delightful introduction to part-singing to kids from 6 to 106! The selections are arranged by categories including English Pre-1700 (Secular), Pre-1700 (Sacred), Post 1700, From Around the World and Wordless Rounds. Start in unison, and build part-singing and listening skills from there!

cfn-bl1017-fFirst Songs for the Emerging Tenor-Bass Choir by Mark Patterson
Written and arranged to meet the challenges of finding quality repertoire for emerging unchanged male singers, Mark Patterson hits the mark with this set of three songs. “First Songs for the Emerging Tenor-Bass Choir” offers directors a wide variety teachable material and is a staple for any middle school choral library.

Laudamus Te (from Mass in C Minor) by W.A. Mozart/arr. Melissa Malvar-Keylock & Jill Friedersdorf
Unison treble choirs can experience the beauty and elegance of this movement from the Mozart Mass in C Minor and gain appreciation for music of the Classical era. The flute obbligato adds to the authenticity.

Consider vocal solo literature as well! Perhaps highlight each voice part’s individual color with a selection for each section: “The Lass with the Delicate Air” for sopranos, “Witness” for altos/mezzos, “Ride On King Jesus” for tenors, and “The Vagabond” for baritones/basses! This is great for developing your singers’ listening skills.

Brainstorm more ideas with Stanton’s by calling us at 1.800.42.MUSIC, or contacting us by email at And remember – shop Stanton’s for all your sheet music needs!

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.

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