The beginning of 2019 is a perfect opportunity to look back at what your students have learned so far this school year, and to look forward to the new and exciting musical challenges you will present to them in the coming months. As you prepare for your upcoming concerts, festivals, or adjudicated events, we recommend these repertoire choices, carefully chosen from many new and recent publications as the “best of the best!”
for SATB Ensembles
Hold On! arr. Brandon A. Boyd, SATB divisi with piano
Although there are a number of fine arrangements of this spiritual, Brandon Boyd’s setting of “Hold On!” for mixed chorus divisi with piano is exceptionally creative yet true to the idiomatic style. The rich harmonic language set against lyrical melodic passages and articulated by syncopated rhythmic elements provides a thrilling opportunity for singers and audience alike.
Music in the Night by Elaine Hagenberg, SSATB with piano
Elaine Hagenberg is one of our country’s most respected writers. The superb craftsmanship of her works once again is seen in this new piece. Scored for 5-part mixed chorus (divisi soprano) and piano on a text of Harriet Prescott Spofford, try the piece in a group reflecting the power of music, for Women’s History Month or American Music Month.
The Old Mill by Kenneth Riggs, SATB with piano
Rigg’s intriguing setting of this poignant, reflective poem by Thomas Dunn English features an accompaniment that emulates flowing water and the turning of the mill wheel. The minor mode and 6/8 pulse effectively establish the mood for this haunting piece which will provide a unique contrast for your concert or festival programming needs.
Antiphonal Cantate by Greg Gilpin, SATB with piano
Whether performed on risers, as a processional, or encircling the audience, this celebratory fanfare is the perfect opening number for concert or festival and is appropriate for use throughout the school year. The middle section is in 3/2 and provides an interesting and fun contrast. The text is both in easy Latin and in English, and an optional English text is provided for sacred use.
for Treble Ensembles
O Clap Your Hands by Stephen Chatman, 3-part treble with piano
“O Clap Your Hands” is a setting of words from Psalm 47 as translated and adapted by the composer. Influenced by jazz and gospel music, this fast, energetic work surges forward with constant syncopation, rich pan-diatonic and chromatic harmony, and repeated melodic lines and text. The bright and challenging piano part, with its added-tone arpeggios and extended registers, highlights and punctuates the vocal lines. Through alternating keys, various homophonic and contrapuntal episodes, and the addition of “tutti” clapping, the work reaches a climactic, resounding ending.
I Will Arise and Go by Shawn Kirchner, SSA with piano or hammered dulcimer
This is an evocative, folk-like setting of Yeats’ poem “The Lake Isle of Innisfree.” The modal vocal writing is both simple and sophisticated and always expressive of the yearning in Yeats’ words.
Awake the Trumpet’s Lofty Sound by G.F. Handel/arr. Russell Robinson, SSA with piano and trumpet
A very energetic and joyful chorus from Handel’s oratorio Samson, “Awake the Trumpet’s Lofty Sound” arranged by Russell Robinson is in an accessible key for SSA choirs. Sure to delight audiences and enhance programming for any concert.
Set Me as a Seal by Bruce W. Tippette, SSA with piano
From Song of Solomon comes a cherished text set to rich harmonies for women’s voices. Beginning with a simple and warm piano introduction, unison singing melts into harmonic delight, creating an emotional climax and resolving to a quiet ending stating again “for love is strong as death.”
for Tenor/Bass Ensembles
Down by the Salley Gardens arr. Ben Bram, TTBB a cappella
Ben Bram is the amazing arranger for the Pentatonix. Justin Miller is the hailed director of the Westminster Men’s Chorus – one of the best ever. Justin asked Ben to create a piece for his new series that they could premiere at the ACDA Western Division conference – and now we can offer it to you. Absolutely yummy might be the best way to describe the arrangement. Creative and satisfying would also be appropriate words.
Plorate filii Israel by Giacomo Carissimi/arr. Brandon Williams, TTBB a cappella (optional piano)
Here is the beautiful final movement from Giacomo Carissimi’s oratorio Jephte. Originally for SATB choir, soloist, narrator and instruments, here is a new arrangement for men that allows them to explore this important musical style. Along with the Baroque style and the Latin text, this piece also lends itself to teach legato line, imitation and the emotional context of loss and lamentation.
Tuba Mirum by Mark Burrows, TTB with piano
With a lashing, powerful piano accompaniment to impel the equally dramatic traditional text from the Requiem Mass, this commanding musical setting for men, women or mixed chorus is spellbinding indeed. It is an exceptional repertoire choice for concert or festival performances, displaying rich passages from a full-throated forte to a lovely, controlled piano, all while exuding an air of fiery, rhythmic drive and a sense of urgency. A pronunciation guide and translation are included.
Poor Wayfaring Stranger arr. Christi Jones, TTB with piano
With ostinato-like phrases throughout, Jones’ rhythmic and interesting arrangement of this beloved spiritual will suit the needs of developing tenor-bass choirs of all sizes. Performed with piano accompaniment or a cappella, “Poor Wayfaring Stranger” is sure to please in any concert.
About the Authors:
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.
Lora Moore joined the Stanton’s choral staff in July 2018. A former middle school and high school director of 32 years, she holds a Bachelor of Arts in Choral Music from Capital University and a Master’s of Arts in Choral Music from The Ohio State University. Currently she is a church choir director, operates a private voice/piano studio and is active as a clinician and accompanist. During the off hours, Lora enjoys scouting out new day trips in Ohio to balance what her budget allows for her frequent trips to New York City to visit family and take in a Broadway show or two!