News & Views Saturday, August 15, 2020

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor: Creative Programming for Social Justice Monday, November 18, 2019

give me your tired your poor irving berlin david chaserecommended by Jen Sper and Lora Moore, School Choral Music Specialists

The language of music crosses borders and unites people. Program one of these pieces to bring awareness to social justice issues, and help to make the world a more unified place.

Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor (with God Bless America) arr. David Chase, SATB with piano & cello
Here is a thoughtful and reflective setting of two great Irving Berlin songs – “Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor” and “God Bless America.” Hope is always front and center in Irving Berlin lyrics and there is no exception here. The lamenting sounds of the cello keep us grounded in our commitment to welcoming the stranger as we sing over and over again, “I lift my lamp.” This is a wonderful concert closer.

changes audrey snyderChanges by Audrey Snyder, SATB a cappella with hand percussion
Changing the world starts with just one person! Using a powerful vocal call and response with body percussion, this original work builds confidence and self-awareness through the affirming lyrics and vocal inflections.

Dawn by Steven James Schmidt, SATB a cappella
“Bravo” is a new musical from Steven James Schmidt, in collaboration with lyricists Cristian Guerrero and Andrew Moorhead. The song has the energy and flow of a tune for the theater. The words tell of the search for meaning, hope and light. An excellent piece for high school choirs.

even amid the darkest storm michael john trottaEven Amid the Darkest Storm by Michael John Trotta, SATB with piano (optional a cappella)
Written to commemorate the recent flooding in Louisiana, this strong and emotional work captures the spirit of hope that evolves when a community comes together in the face of a tragedy. Swirling winds and a raging storm yield to a chorus filled with hope: “I must try to believe that the sun is shining, even amid the darkest storm …to believe that the sun is always there, even when I cannot see.” Conservative ranges, vivid text painting, and singable lines are all set atop a supportive piano part to allow this piece to make a powerful and positive statement.

Can We Sing the Darkness to Light? by Kyle Pederson, SATB divisi with piano
The text of this work invites the listener to imagine a world without weapons of war – where the human experience is defined through the lens of mercy and compassion. An accessible SATB work with little divisi and a supportive piano accompaniment.

hard times stephen foster nick johnsonHard Times by Stephen Foster/arr. Nick Johnson, TTBB with guitar, fiddle & cello
A simple expression of empathy for those less fortunate, “Hard Times” offers a universal message that we can persevere through difficult times. This setting for men’s chorus with guitar and strings is a dynamic and modern interpretation. The arrangement can be used with a soloist or with a section of tenors.

Who Would You Be by Shawn Crouch, SATB a cappella with optional piano & cello
Moved by the tragedy of countless school shootings in the United States, the composer asked himself, “What would happen if I lost my son in an act of violence?” The words of this composition are an expression of loss and the music is meant to give solace in an uncertain time. We have come to know Shawn’s music as thoughtful and singable while challenging the very best choirs. This is no exception.

Contact us for more creative programming ideas, and remember – shop Stanton’s for all your sheet music needs!

About the Authors:
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.

Lora Moore joined the Stanton’s choral staff in July 2018. A former middle school and high school director of 32 years, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Choral Music from Capital University and a Master’s of Arts in Choral Music from The Ohio State University. Currently she is a church choir director, operates a private voice/piano studio and is active as a clinician and accompanist. During the off hours, Lora enjoys scouting out new day trips in Ohio to balance what her budget allows for her frequent trips to New York City to visit family and take in a Broadway show or two!

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