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: Mixed Choir with Elementary Choir
Recommended by Rachel Steele, School Choral Specialist
Recruiting, like it or not, is part of the music teacher’s job. Not only do lots of ensemble members ensure that you will have a choir (and a job,) it brings the music community just a little closer to our goal of making music education a part of every student’s academic career. When you invite your elementary choir to be a part of a concert with your secondary students, you can show them a glimpse of what the0. choral music experience can give them as they become more mature musicians. Just as importantly, it shows the parents of those students what they will be able to do in a few years if they continue their musical education. Make your elementary students feel special by billing them as “Special Guest Artists” on your program, flyers and other communications. Prior to the concert, pair them up with a high school student for a side-by-side rehearsal. Elementary students will be in awe of the older kids, and you high schoolers will love being mentors for a day!
Grow Little Tree – by Andrea Ramsey 2 Part SBMP1170
Perfect for graduation or anytime of the year, this unique arrangement is tailor-made for children’s choir, but subject matter (the potential in each human being,) is appropriate for all ages. Written for two part treble, it works well with adult women and children, though thoughtful part assignments/re-voicing could allow your men to participate as well. In this case, it bears remembering that voicing does not always indicate difficulty level. Give your elementary students plenty of time to learn this sometimes tricky melody, and make sure your older students are rock solid to lend support if needed.
Beautiful melodies are the hallmark of Victor Johnson’s work, and this is an exceptionally fine example. A terrific piece in defense of arts education without being preachy or obvious, the text talks about teaching our children how to imagine, dream, laugh, cry and even fail. The oboe part (included in the octavo,) adds greatly to the texture. Feature your elementary choir in unison on the opening solo, then share the soprano and alto parts with your older members. If this causes a balance issue, consider using the three part mixed version and having all of your men sing part 3 together.
Look at the World –by John Rutter SATB and/or Children’s Choir HMC1527
No need to alter parts or make adjustments here, it is all laid out for you. Although this piece is sacred in nature, the sentiments expressed are nearly universal. Each of the 4 verses is sung in unison, leaving endless possibilities for featuring different choirs, small groups or soloists. The chorus is in four part harmony, giving a change of texture for each verse. An instrumentation is also available (Double woodwind quintet and strings HMC1527A,) so invite some of your school’s orchestra to join you as well.
The various voicings available for this piece are intended to be performed together, so grab as many choirs as you can and shout this sentiment from the rooftops! Secular in nature, this piece is perfect for the holiday season (especially if you aren’t able to do sacred music,) or any time of the year. The first section features a small group of singers echoing the chorus, which can be done in a multitude of ways. Feature your children’s choir, your seniors, or even a group of faculty, alumni or parents. An oldie but a goodie!
Hope for Resolution – Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory SATB w/Children’s Chorus
This powerful work is dedicated to the winners of the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize, Nelson Mandela and F.W. DeClerk, leaders who worked together to end apartheid in South Africa. While it’s format can look intimidating, it is really quite simple to put together. The first half is a three part canon in English using the classic text “Of the Father’s Love Begotten.” The second half is a fairly simple SATB setting of a South African freedom song in Zulu. Layered on top of this is a unison part that is the same melody featured in the canon. Combining the choral singing traditions of Europe and Africa, the composers mirror the work of DeClerk and Mandela. Voice the round however is easiest for you, then have your children sing the unison part while your older students tackle the SATB. This is a joyful way to end any concert, and guaranteed to make moms cry!
For more recommendations for children’s choir or combination concerts, give us a call at 1-800-42-MUSIC or email us at email@example.com Previous posts in this series : Men’s Combo Concerts; Women’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!