recommended by Jen Sper, School Choral Music Specialist
Teaching vocal jazz, either as its own ensemble or as a supplement to a concert choir environment, provides great potential to choral programs. Through jazz repertoire, singers are given a unique opportunity to sharpen musical skills including intonation, sight-reading, and ensemble development. Here are a few new publications for ensembles at varying difficulty levels to get you started:
A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square arr. Kirby Shaw
For over seven decades, this song, written during World War II has held an emotional connection with music-lovers for its nostalgic longing for happier times. This a cappella setting offers an accessible option to vocal jazz and concert choirs and opportunities for building style and technique.
Old Devil Moon arr. Mac Huff
Now available for mixed choirs, this popular standard from “Finian’s Rainbow” really swings, making it a great showcase for jazz, show and concert choirs!
‘Tain’t What You Do (It’s the Way That You Do It) arr. Rosana Eckert
Here is a song written in the big band era, first sung by jazz vocalist, Ella Fitzgerald, in 1939 and ideal for introducing beginning and developing groups to swing style. In the Discovery Series, it’s perfect for building jazz diction and rhythmic skills.
Blue Skies arr. Mark Hayes
Irving Berlin’s much-recorded song from 1926 takes a sultry and sophisticated turn with this dynamic, jazzy arrangement that includes optional rhythm, flugelhorn and flute. The song is a symbol of cheer of being in love. “Blue days, all of them gone. Nothing but blue skies from now on.” An American Songbook treasure.
Two great resources to explore are The Vocal Jazz Ensemble by Paris Rutherford and The Complete Guide to Teaching Vocal Jazz by Steve Zegree. Contact us for personalized sheet music recommendations for your ensemble, or visit us online at stantons.com!
About the Author:
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.