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Items by David Headings

Results: 62
Title Author Date
Comment: Re: BEST SATB Christmas Music with Harp
No one has mentioned Jackson Berkey's "Still, Still Night." It is a beautiful arrangement of the traditional Silent Night.
Comment: Re: Touring with children: Cell phones & Electronics
Carole, When I travel with my high school choir (and when our band director travels with the band) we encourage the kids to bring their cell phones along. We also make sure they have the numbers of chaperones and directors so that if they get separated from their group, or have some other issue, th...
Comment: Re: High Quality Pop Music for SSA/SSAA
I agree with this, but if the overall range of the piece is manageable you can raise the key by a half-step or two. Most arrangers that I've talked to would rather have you perform their piece in a different key than not perform it at all. Of course, you need to watch the 1st soprano part, but many...
Comment: Re: Older adolescent male transition from chest to head, etc.
From the way you phrased your question it sounds as though he understands the difference between chest and head voice, but has a clear difference in quality between the two that he would like to smooth out. In voice technique terms, he wants to strengthen his passagio. I would suggest working from ...
Comment: Re: Consequences for students who miss concerts
Welcome to high school music directing! This problem is inherent in the job, IMO.   At the school where I teach, the band director and I have similar policies in order to keep things consistent throughout the department. We have a policy for excused absences and one for unexcused. I consider an e...
Comment: Re: looking for a contrasting piece to a contemporary program
One huge contrast would be Gene Puerling's arrangement of "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square," sung most famously by Manhattan Transfer. It's solidly in the vocal jazz camp, but might be a nice contrast, and it is one of my favorite Vocal Jazz ballad settings. From a more traditional source, Ran...
Comment: Re: Choir piece with body percussion?
The South African freedom song "Ipharadisi" has been arranged with body percussion by Jerry Ulrich. Its published by Kjos Music.  My students have always had fun with it!   David Headings
Comment: Re: Middle School Musical
Our middle school has had great success in the past few years with the junior versions of the following shows: Honk Oklahoma Tom Sawyer Annie Seussical Schoolhouse Rock Cinderella My personal favorite was Schoolhouse Rock, but that's because I always loved all of those songs on Saturday morni...
Comment: Re: Spring Revue
Let the kids choose their own! Make sure they understand that any piece will have to be cleared by you for appropriateness, but since this is a show choir situation, the audience will already be expecting lighter, popular songs. You take care of the group numbers and let them choose their own solos ...
Comment: Re: Need a Fresh Look
Aubrey:   Record, record, record! When preparing for an upcoming concert or contest, I start recording rehearsals every couple of weeks once my choir is reasonably comfortable with the notes. That allows you to pull back and listen to the group as a whole rather than focusing on a single part or ...
Comment: Re: Who is qualified to teach show choir
I agree that if only one teacher is to teach, it should be the choral teacher. However, many of the show aspects of show choir are theatrical in nature. If your school has the personnel for it, possibly a team teaching situation could be utilized, with a choral person teaching the vocal portion and...
Comment: Re: Choir and Drum Kit
I would echo the Swingle Singers arrangements. Bob Chilcott's "A Little Jazz Mass" is also excellent.   David Headings
Comment: Re: new singer with breathy middle range
Mary Jane's right! Adolescent girls go through a voice change as well, though it usually not as drastic as a boy's voice change. It's often more a change of quality than of register, though that happens too.
Comment: Re: New Choir Room
Overestimate the amount of storage you think you'll need. Otherwise, as we did, you'll wish you had more. I would also echo Mary Jane in asking for the separate music library, robe/uniform storage and practice room(s), as well as enough flat floor space to set up your choral risers for final rehea...
Comment: Re: What is the most perfect piece of choral music ever composed? Opinions, please.
I also think that Mozart's "Ave verum corpus" is one of the absolute best little miniatures I have ever directed or sang. I also think that Palestrina needs some props as one of the finest composers of the "Golden Age of a cappella singing." One of his best is his "Sicut cervus." A little more cha...
Comment: Re: Musical Theater Rehearsals
Welcome to the madness, Ben! I always work backwards when scheduling my rehearsals. Let me explain. I start with opening night and schedule the number of full runthroughs I want before opening. Four has always worked well for me, though whatever you want is best. Then I schedule four rehearsals ...
Comment: Re: Choral music of Gustav Holst
One of my favorite holiday pieces is his "Christmas Day," a very well-done medley of British Christmas Carols. There are a couple of tricky key changes, but well worth the effort. It is listed on the Choral Public Domain wiki, linked below. http://www1.cpdl.org/wiki/index.php/Holst
Comment: Re: Choral tribute to firefighters?
Though not specifically what you are asking for, there is a great rendition of Amazing Grace (A Choral Reflection on Amazing Grace, by Ames) that was originally dedicated to the children of 9/11 victims. The opening section of the piece has the men singing a bagpipe drone which implies the tradition...
Comment: Re: Building Song percussion
I always wait until the vocalists are secure on their parts, particularly if the percussion is complex, such as an African ensemble with polyrhythms, etc. Depending on the difficulty of the parts, I rehearse the percussionists separately once or twice. I also want at least three or four rehearsals b...
Comment: Re: Quality Arrangements of Disney Songs
Again, though not "classic," there is an enjoyable medley of songs from the Broadway version of "The Lion King" that I have used. If you use more than just piano to accompany it, you can bring out a lot of the African flavor of the music fom that show.   On a side note, I too wish that Disney...
Comment: Re: Suggested for readings for choir
Ken:   The obvious choice is to choose biographical readings about well-known choral composers or performers. The vocal jazz world in particular has some interesting personalities to explore, Ella, Sarah, Mel, and Louis all come to mind immediately. Billie Holiday is interesting too, but her ...
Comment: Re: Peak Choral Experience: NBC's The Sing-Off
This season of the Sing Off has been amazing. Pentatonix (the winners) used very smart arrangements and often sounded like there were more than five on stage. Afro Blue was my favorite all the way through, mostly because I tend to enjoy more jazz than pop.   I would like to comment on somethi...
Comment: Re: Choral Music and Emotion
The first two pieces that come to mind for me are Daniel Gawthrop's "Sing Me To Heaven," and Mark Hayes' anthem, "Jubilant Praise." Both of these would be examples of spiritual/religious (not specifically Christian) emotion, one contemplative (Gawthrop) and one joyful (Hayes). "Even When God is Si...
Comment: Re: Choral Caffeine: Is This a Dirty Word?
I have a vocal jazz ensemble rather than a show choir as the extra-curricular ensemble in my school and I couldn't agree more. The difficulty of jazz music and the need to keep the dissonances in tune has the added benefit of better intonation in my traditional choral ensembles. I also must respec...
Comment: Re: SMART boards
I am also interested in what people have discovered about using this technology. I have a Mimio (similar technology) with a Mimio Notepad available to me. One thing that I have found useful is the ability to scan in the scores I am using and project them in order to show the students how and where...
Comment: Re: Choral Music for the blind student
I had a blind student go through my high school choral program and her Braille teacher wanted her to be proficient with text before beginning to learn Braille notation. When she did start to learn the notation system, she gave up because it is a very confusing system. I would only recommend it if ...
Comment: Re: Commemoration Piece for 9/11
 One of my favorite pieces that falls into this category is "Choral Reflections on Amazing Grace" by Ames, published by CIA Publications in 2002. It is SATB divisi with three treble soloists, accompanied by piano. It is a beautiful setting that is dedicated to the children of the victims, but is ...
Comment: Re: Teaching Music Theory in H.S. Choir
Tina:   Check out Masterworks Press (www.masterworkspress.com). They have a series called Music Theory for Choirs that I have used for a couple of years and really like. There are two volumes: the first begins with basic rhythms and note names and moves through simple intervals, basic scales ...
Comment: Re: Needed: An a cappella arrangment of It is well with my soul for TTBB
I don't know of one right off hand, but if you have the standard hymn form a hymnal they can still sing it. The quartet I used to sing in would sometimes sing hymns this way: 1st tenor, sing the alto line at pitch; 2nd tenor sing the written tenor line; baritone sing the melody in their octave; ba...
Comment: Re: In Remembrance Themed Text
There is another Christina Rossetti poem that would fit this category. Robert H. Young set it in a piece titled "Echo" though I'm not sure if that is the title of the text.   Come to me in the silence of the night, Come in the speaking silence of a dream: Come with soft rounded cheeks and...
Comment: Re: Battle hymn: How to pronounce "transfigures"
If I may throw my 2 cents in, I have always been taught that some of pronunciation comes from the source material. For example, since we're mentioning the British, you wouldn't use proper British pronunciation to sing a dialect-filled African-American spiritual. Instead, you do your best to recrea...
Comment: Re: Choir, Band & Orchestra piece
Our Ohio Music Education Association District 2 High School festival always ends with the Wilhousky arrangement of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." You might also look into Carmen Dragon's "America the Beautiful."
Comment: Re: Recording technique
The farther the choir is from the microphones, the more "choral" they will sound, especially in a "live" room like an auditorium or church. The choir at the front in a traditional set-up with condenser mics high and about thirty feet back will alow the room to help blend the sound into a choral to...
Comment: Re: Beautiful & Stunning Sacred Literature
I am partial to two settings of "Alleluia," both Randall Thompson's, and Ralph Manuel's. Also, there is a wonderful setting of Amazing Grace called "Choral Reflections on Amazing Grace" by Ames, published by CIA Publications.
Comment: Re: Running a high school musical theatre production: advise needed
Laura: Make sure the cast learns the music FIRST, accurately, in parts.  Before they go on stage and get into staging, blocking, and choreography.  And while they are learning those things they will FORGET the music, so you have to block in rehearsal time for them to RE-learn the music alon...
Comment: Re: The Best not-so-well-known major works
Heinrich Schütz, Historia der Geburt Jesu Christi, sometimes simply called the Christmas Oratorio, is a beautiful early oratorio for chorus, soloists (S, T, B), and orchestra. I Googled it and found a couple of listings that looked promising for downloads, but unfortunately the filter at school h...
Comment: Re: Restructuring High School Choirs
Tim:   DO IT! I had the same situation as you a couple of years ago, but my second mixed group definitely had the "leftover choir" stigma. I dissolved that group and put all freshmen into men's or women's chorus. The only SATB group is my auditioned group of about 50 10-12 graders. Because th...
Comment: Re: Accessible irregular meter for women's choir
Christy Cary Miller has a great piece called "Cantate Domino! Alleluia!" published by Hal Leonard in 1997 that I have used with my women's chorus in the past. It alternates 7/8 (2+2+3) and 4/4 by sections. Very good opening number!   David
Comment: Re: Famous for a single piece
M. Thomas Cousins: Glorious Everlasting   And for the record, I researched him for program notes when I used this last year, and not only did I not find other music by him, but there is very little in the research record beyond his being a church choir director and writing this one anthem. At...
Comment: Re: Arrangement Suggestions
I don't know if it is still in print, but the old traditional Dawson arrangement of "There Is a Balm in Gilead" is beautiful. I found it in my files and used it last year. As an added bonus, my students actually liked it! It is a cappella, though I'm sure a keyboard could double the parts. It incl...
Comment: Re: Middle School mixed choir - need advice
I was thinking similarly to this with one exception that I realize goes against the parameters you and the administration have set up. You could make an argument for using Tom's idea of combining on Friday, but having the M,W and T, Th groups being gender specific. That way you can work with your ...
Comment: Re: Preparing for a Sight-Impared Student
I had a blind student graduate two years ago and it was a great experience to have her in my group. I would not hesitate to tell anyone to include a talented blind student in their group.   I would not suggest using the Braille music notation at the 6th grade level. I did a little research with my...
Comment: Re: SATB Christmas with harp
Jackson Berkey's "Still, Still Night" is a beautiful arrangement of Silent Night for SATB and harp or piano. I've used it with both. It has an alto solo and some very rich harmonies. Not difficult, but a wonderful setting of a traditional carol nonetheless.
Comment: Re: Repetoire Search
If you are already hooked into JW Pepper, they offer an Editor's Choice packet of newly published music. For a relatively low cost, they send you a book(s) with new music and recordings of each new piece they have chosen. They carry versions for various voicings and levels for both church and schoo...
Comment: Re: How do I help a singer who consistently sings sharp?
I have fought this a little in my women's chorus and with sopranos in my SATB choir. Sometimes if a singer is singing their vowels slightly brighter than the rest of the group it can pull them sharp. If you can determine that to be the cause, "covering" the tone with a slightly altered vowel may hel...
Comment: Re: Crud, I'm in the"B" choir now!
I am a director at a public high school and have had the same issue in the past when I created my own "A" choir. I have recently stumbled upon a solution that has worked well for me. If your administration is willing to work with you, this might work. I did away with my "B" SATB ensemble and created...
Comment: Re: Repertoire ideas re water, rivers, etc
Though, not difficult in any way, BriLee has an SATB a cappella piece called "Follow the River." I'm at home and I forget who wrote it, but it's in a spiritual style, though it is an original composition. Great little piece. There are also several traditional spirituals that deal with water, the Jor...
Comment: Re: Looking for large a cappella sacred choral works of 20th/21st C.
Benjamin Britten's "A Boy Was Born" for SATB and boy's choir. It is written for Christmas, but is an incredible work. It was written when he was 19 years old!
Comment: Re: Looking for major work for choir and organ
Hands down my favorite piece that fits your criteria is Benjamin Britten's "Rejoice in the Lamb." It's only about twenty minutes long so it could be programmed with something else, but it has soloist requirements and the accompaniment is specific for organ, not a reduction. It's not as long as some ...
Comment: Re: Renaissance Composers
Beka:   Renaissance must be in the air! I just answered another question with these pieces: Palestrina: Sicut cervus Palestrina: Alma redemptoris mater Vittoria: Ave maria di Lasso: Matona mia cara Morales: O vos omnes With a good high school choir and patience on the part of the d...