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Looking for music for small church choir

Dear Colleagues,
 
I am a fairly new choral director at a small, rural church in the Midwest, seeking direction on finding music for an inexperienced, unbalanced choir of 3 males (2 basses and 1 tenor) and 6 females (4 sopranos and 2 altos).  They are a hardworking group and have been singing for many years, but their inexperience shows when it comes to learning new music.  I have spent quite a bit of time on JW Pepper, Hope Music, and Santa Barbara Music searching for easier music that is 2-part mixed or 3-part mixed (SAB) that will still present a few challenges for them.  Does anyone know of any composers or publishers where I would have more success finding music or know of any songs that would fit into this category?  Thank you.
 
Jordan Busboom
on November 26, 2013 8:54am
Jordan: Assuming you are working with a Protestant church, I suggest you look at St. James Music Press. www.sjmp.com  Many of their selections seem well suited for small choirs. 
 
 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on November 26, 2013 9:05am
Hi Jordan,
 
I'm a composer, but also direct a small church choir in Wisconsin.  I have composed a couple of things for my church choir (about 15 members, SAB) that have worked well for them.  I'd encourage you to take a look at my piece "By His Stripes," which you can find here on my music page: http://www.oldenburgmusic.com/index.php?id=4.  There is also an SAB arrangement of Gesu Bambino that you might want to take a look at for Christmas next year!
 
If you're interested in obtaining a score of either piece for perusal, please feel free to email me directly at doldenb(a)gmail.com.
 
Thanks for considering, and best of luck finding music for your choir!
 
Dustin Oldenburg
 
 
on November 26, 2013 9:11am
Good Day, Jordan,
 
I was in a situation somewhat similar to yours about ten years ago (I started with 6 sopranos and altos) and was able to solve it – initially at least – by writing a lot of music. Gradually I added traditionally published church repertoire (and tenors and basses!) and over the years built up a very respectable choir and library of music. You may see on my website a number of sacred works, though not all may be appropriate for your situation. http://donaldpatriquin.com/SATB_Sacred.html
 
I suggest the following would be at least technically suited to your needs. Those in italics were written for and sung by the modest rural Quebec country church choir with which I worked for some years. Some of the blessing texts were written by our minister, The Rev. Dale Skinner.
 
Do not Stand at My Grave and Weep, Make Me a Channel of thy Peace, Kumbaya (arrangement) O praise the God who gave us birth (Hymn) O Spirit Come, The Lord is My ShepherdLend an Ear, O Dearest Lord (a Petition) Thank You for the Love (a Blessing), Lord We Thank You for Our Blessings (a Blessing) Mass for the Caribbean, Chants in the Tradition of Taizé. Also– Divine Intention – a beautiful, very accessible short anthem with words and music by The Rev. Burn Purdon.
 
You will also find appropriate music in the Christmas repertoire, such as Come and See the Little Child and A Child's Carol.
 
Thank You for the Love is a short blessing which galvanized the choir and congregation. It is freely available and may be used by anyone– anywhere and anytime, without charge. Please just drop me a line. Address maybe found on my website donaldpatriquin.com
 
Blessings,
 
Donald
 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on November 26, 2013 10:03am
Hi Jordan, 
 
Try choral wiki as well.  All the music there is in the public domain, or offered by the composers free of charge, so you can print out a bunch of things to try out with your group, without worrying about the cost.  www.choralwiki.org  and you can set up an account there just by creating a username and password.  The site is slow and doesn't have the best navigation system, but it works, and you could post this same request to the forums there to get recommendations.  
 
If nothing else you can always put together a quicky "arrarngement" of something from your hymnal.  Find something pretty that isn't sung often and has an appropriate text for the sermon.  Play a quick intro, then sing the first verse unison, accompanied, second verse just the women, third verse in four parts a cappella, fourth verse sopranos sing the bass line, basses sing the melody, altos and tenors switch parts, (all in their own octaves, of course) to invert all the chords with accompaniment to help them hold it together.  Something like that is easy on you, practices sight reading for your group, and costs you nothing.  And the congregation will still think it sounds lovely.
on November 26, 2013 10:34am
Hi, Jordan.  I faced a similar problem about 30 years and it's what got me started arranging, then composing.  May I suggest you look at my set "Rejoice & Sing:  Nine SAB Anthems?"  These cover various days in the church year, with a couple pieces for general use. It contains "Good People All, This Christmastime," which sets the Wexford Carol for SAB and piano and is meant to be an easy addition for your Christmas programming.  And I have some others you can find within this SAB list.  All the best, 
 
chris
Christopher J. Hoh
on November 26, 2013 12:56pm
Do have a look at thecAccessible choral library distributed by www.spartanpress.co.uk, it is designed just for the purpose you mention there are only 10 or so pieces in the series by a variety of Uk composers but we are adding all the time, they are also available on musicroom.com
on November 26, 2013 10:54pm
Hi Jordan!
 
Throw this at 'em.  Delightful piece, and can be done by any choir, ever!  https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/38775135/Alleluia%20Incantation.pdf
 
Email me if you want to make copies for your choir.  andrew.j.miller.4(a)bismarckstate.edu
 
Below are just a few recording examples. Many ways to do this piece!! :)
 
on November 27, 2013 4:13am
It might be worth a few minutes of your time to see Canasg Music's "sacred" catalogue at http://www.canasg.com/catsacred.shtml and Christmas music at http://www.canasg.com/catxmas.shtml.
 
Canasg delivers music in the form of PDF files for you to print yourself, with a licence that allows unlimited printing and reprinting (so that you can replace lost or damaged copies) for the exclusive use of the group that buys it. The price depends on the size of your group, and in your case a typical piece would cost in the range $13-$18.
on December 2, 2013 9:12am
You should peruse Selah Publishing Co.'s publications for two-part/SAB at
 
 
Most octavos have complete downloaded review copies so you may look at the anthem in its entirety.
 
David Schaap
 
David Schaap, president
Selah Publishing Co., Inc.
PO Box 98066
Pittsburgh, PA 15227
412-886-1022 fax
Visit our website: www.selahpub.com
on December 3, 2013 3:50am
Please take a look at
 
These are arrangements for SABar en piano. A lot Dutch, but also a lot of US popular songs.
 
Thanks
 
J
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