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Song ideas for chorus of adults with disabilities

Hey everyone...starting in August I'm assuming the director's position for a group of adults with disabilities. They are a small group that rehearses once a week for 1 hour. While I hope to grow the membership, the core group has really good voices. Can you recommend some good unison or simple two part pieces that I could use? Doesn't necessarily have to be in English. They have done songs in Japanese and Hawaiian. Thanks so much!!
Replies (9): Threaded | Chronological
on July 25, 2014 7:21pm
Hi David,
Please join the ChoralNet Community, "Friends of Joyful Noise."  We are a community within ChoralNet who have an interest in choirs for children and adults with disabilities.  Repertoire has been discussed many times and I bet you'll be able to find suggestions in our forum.  As well, several directors have chronicled their journey as they began rehearsals, directing folks with disabilities for the first time.
There are choirs across the country--from New Mexico, Illinois, Iowa and of course, in New Jersey and Deleware where the *Joyful* movement began with Joyful Noise!
Marie Grass Amenta, Editor, Friends of Joyful Noise ChoralNet Community
P.S. Alice Parker (yes, THAT Alice Parker) has written songs for Joyful Noise as has Nick Page.  Both have songbooks which would be totally appropriate in your situation.
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on August 22, 2014 12:39pm
I am teaching at a school with students with Learning Disabilities.  I would love to know more about Friends of a Joyful Noise!
Best -
on August 22, 2014 10:16pm
Please join our ChoralNet Community by clicking on the Community tab at the top of the CN Homepage and scrolling down until you get to *Friends of Joyful Noise*.  Click on it and at the top of the page should be a button to join the Community.  Join and then start a discussion in the Forum and introduce yourself.  The people are great!
on July 26, 2014 8:07am
Check out Daniel's Music Foundation, (DMF) in NY City. The group serves individuals of all ages and all disabilities by offering music classes. I know for a fact that songs have been written for choruses there, which have been performed at Carnegie Hall and Yankee Stadium.
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on July 27, 2014 5:40am
Marie Grass Amenta refers to the group JOYFUL NOISE from NJ.
Here is a video of them singing "You Have a Heart (Use It)" at the national ACDA conference in Chicago a few years ago.
I wrote the piece as a duet with Joyful Noise singing the melody and an SATB chorus singing a counterpoint.
The soloist is Todd Emmons who has become a dear friend.   He and I both cry when he sings it.
Nick Page
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on July 27, 2014 4:58pm
Very curious about what sort of disabilities the choristers have. I've been in a wheelchair for years, and other than problems with venues nothing is any different for me than for anyone else. There are quite a few choruses that include blind sigers. Adults "with disabilities" is awfully vague and much too broad to give any sort of thoughtful response.
on July 27, 2014 6:36pm
Specifically, this refers to adults with autism and learning disabilities. 
on July 28, 2014 9:50am
Hi David,
Please listen to my songs "Carry On," "Take My Hand," and "The Spirit of America" on my website These songs have been performed across America. These are inspirational songs, and are easy to sing. I also have excellent, simple arrangements of these songs, available without charge. Good luck in your new position!
Best wishes,
Hank Fellows
on July 29, 2014 4:31am
Dear David.
This may be of interest to you.  It's titled 'Refuse to Lose' and I wrote it mainly for schools here in the UK to coincide with the 2012 Olympics in London but any age group can enjoy it.  The ethos of the song is not just about achieving in sport but in any field of life and I tried to take an athlete's qualities of discipline, dedication and tenacity so that those who learn the words and sing the song have something to guide them through to their goals.
Link to the page where the score, backijng track and everything for learning and performance are available as free downloads 
And here's a link to the video that went out at the time.
Good luck and best wishes
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