Happy Birthday Alice Parker!

Alice Parker

by Rachel Steele and Jen Sper, School Choral Specialists

It’s hard to believe,  but Alice Parker turns 90 years young today! This elder stateswoman of choral music was born in 1925. She studied music at Smith College and received her master’s degree from the Juilliard School where she studied choral conducting with Robert Shaw. Her collaboration with Shaw continued for the duration of his career, and her catalog of folk songs, spirituals and holiday music (both alone and with Shaw) are staples of the choral literature. She is the recipient of 6 honorary doctorates and the Smith College Medal.

At the age of 90, Ms. Parker is still an active teacher, clinician, conductor and composer! Her non-profit organization Melodious Accord is sponsoring a project called Alice Is 90. They are asking for choral conductors to video record their groups singing her works anytime between December 2015 and December 2016 and upload the video to YouTube, Vimeo, or Facebook with #Aliceis90. Looking for a way to participate? Give us a call at 1-800-42-MUSIC ext. 1; and we’d be happy to send you a 21 Day Trial or suggest something appropriate for your group.

Speaking of being an active composer, Stanton’s is happy to recommend these two new men’s chorals from Alice Parker, both in TTBB voicings:

hard times come againHard Times Come Again No More by S. Foster/arr. Parker (00144509)….$2.25

One of the sweetest of Stephen Foster’s songs, balancing nostalgia with heartfelt lament. Seems made for male chorus, with the kind of piano or guitar accompaniment that would’ve been found in 19th century homes. Very accessible vocal writing with a simple accompaniment, making this a fantastic option for every men’s chorus.

cindy.jpgCindy arr. Alice Parker (SBMP1215)………………………..$1.95

“I wish I was an apple a hangin’ from a tree, and ev’ry time that Cindy passed she’d take a bite of me.” Guys will delight in singing this clever arrangement of the American folksong. The versatility that the elegant writing affords makes this piece appropriate for choirs of all sizes.



About the Authors:

Rachel Steele has been at Stanton’s since 2013. She previously taught middle school and high school band and choir for 13 years, and holds Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees 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!

A former middle school and high school choral director, Jen Sper 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.


Categories: Church Choral, Composers, Music Education, New Publications, School Choral, Staff Picks, Teacher Materials

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