STANTON’S SPOTLIGHT on Men’s & Women’s Choirs

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


Categories: New Publications, School Choral, Staff Picks, Stanton's Spotlight

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