The concert schedule for lots of schools is the same year-in and year-out. Consider shaking things up this year with a “combo” concert! Combine your groups across levels (imagine how big your band will be with students grades 5-12!) or across genres (your 6th grade choir would love to sing a piece or a medley with your high school jazz band!).
Combo Concerts: Women
Recommended by Rachel Steele, School Choral Specialist
While putting on a concert that combines your male singers of all ages can be a bit of a challenge, doing the same with all of your women couldn’t be easier! The women from your high school, middle school, and even upper elementary groups will have the same range and be able to sing 2, 3, or 4 part treble music. Focus on choosing pieces with a message that will resonate with girls in a wide age range and text/subject matter that is appropriate for all.
The Symphony Of Night – by Mark Patterson 2 Part BL799
For a simple two part arrangement, you can’t beat the beauty of The Symphony of Night. Mark Patterson writes his own text to the beautiful Swedish folk song “Bred Dina Vida Vingar” and the result is a subtle, enchanting melody set with a text appropriate for any age group. While it is not seasonal, the references to the darkness of night make this especially appropriate in the winter. The supportive piano accompaniment adds to the texture while staying out of the way of your singers.
One Tin Soldier – arr. Kirby Shaw 2 Part 08666128
This piece comes from the folk rock tradition of the 1960’s and 70’s and the anti-war sentiments that were such a part of the music of that era. The strophic form allows you to feature one group at a time or even some soloists during the verses and then have everyone sing the chorus. One Tin Soldier is in a great range to let those light, healthy middle school voices soar, and sends an important message to singers of all ages.
All the Pretty Little Horses –arr. Andy Beck SSA 39848
Lullabies seem to be standard fare for women’s chorus, but we promise that this one is truly unique. Andy Beck has taken this classic American folksong and spun it into a jazz waltz that makes it feel fresh and modern. The harmonies are easy enough that less experienced singers won’t be intimidated, but mature enough to hold everyone’s interest. A jazz flute and vibe part, available as free downloads here, really add to the texture and feel of this unique arrangement. Who says women’s chorus can’t be cool too?
Pure Imagination – arr. Jay Althouse SSA 37984
Since you’ve already committed to a concert combining your women’s groups (or at least one piece on a concert), why not go the extra step and ask for some of the adults in the community to join in as well? Contact your local community chorus, church choir(s), alumni or even the parents of your students. There is something incredibly powerful about women, young adults and children singing together, and this easy-to-learn arrangement will be perfect if you only have a rehearsal or two to put it together. Whether they remember Willy Wonka from the Ronald Dahl books (1964), the Gene Wilder movie (1971) or the Johnny Depp remake (2005), your women will love Pure Imagination.
Sometimes music education is about life lessons. Msilale Wanawake (Women, Wake Up!) is an inspiring piece based on a Kenyan proverb. Perfect for multi-grade level and multi-generational ensembles, this specifically addresses female students, encouraging women to stand up and “rid themselves of societal shackles, to walk away from servitude, gender bias and oppression.” If you are nervous about younger groups singing a piece this complex, assign your middle school and/or elementary students the descant part (present for 3/4 of the piece), and leave your more advanced students to the other three parts. A great kick-starter to discussion about women’s lives around the world.
It is possible to do a program for women’s chorus that doesn’t have a single piece about flowers, clouds, stars or boyfriends. For more recommendations for women’s groups or combination concerts, give us a call at 1-800-42-MUSIC or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org Previous posts in this series : Men’s Combo Concerts
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!