Chanukah: Kwanzaa/Chanukah repertoire
Many thanks to everyone who responded to my query. You are fantastic
Here is the compilation of all response that I received:
I have a 7th and 8th grade chorus for the first time this year. I found a
nice "suite" of pieces by Patsy Ford Simms called "Celebrate the Season."
The three pieces included are sub-titled "Hanukkah is Here," "King of
Kings," and "Let's Celebrate Kwanzaa." The style of each piece is
reflective of each tradition. I'm using the 3-part arrangement, but I think
there was a 2-part as well.
Beth Chapman Broyles
Winton Woods Middle School
Here are some that I've been very successful with. I've done all but the
Glick and Shur pieces jointly with my choirs aged 6 through high school, and
they've loved them. The easiest pieces are "Hanerot Halalu" and "Hanuka
Dedication" and they are a lot of fun. The ssaa arrangements by
David Eddleman are 4-part canonic ("Round and Round") or very simple
"partner song" ("Hanukkah Dedication") styled arrangements. The Glick and
Shur pieces are a little more difficult but well within the ability of
junior high school singers. All are chosen because musically they stand up
Hanerot Halalu Baruch Cohen, arr. Blanche Chass 2 pt Mark Foster pno
Hanukah Nagilah Linda Spevacek 2-pt Heritage Music Press (Lorenz)
15/1458H pno, opt. tambourine
S'Vivon and Candle Lullaby, from "Music for Chanukah" by Srul Irving
Glick 2pt 3pt GVT VG-254 piano
S'Vivon arr. B. Bertaux 4pt B&H OCTB6193 a cappella
Hanukkah Dedication David Eddleman ssaa Kjos ED.6231 pno, tamb
Round and Round the Dreydl Spins David Eddleman ssaa Kjos pno
Three Songs for Hannukah Traditional, arr. B. Shur ssa Walton 5022
"The Principles of Kwanzaa (Nguzo Saba)" by Lois Brownsey & Marti Lunn
Alfred Publishing available two part mixed or three part mixed
I did the two part last year with my middle school students and the three
part with my high school students. It was well received. It has 6 short
speaking parts incorporated to explain each of the principles. It does have
a sound trax available which I did not purchase.
A piece I have used in both middle school and adult choir is "Hannukah
Dance" by David Stocker. It is written in 3 parts (any combination. Each
part has its own 8 measure melody which combine after being sung seperately.
Very easy to teach and perform. You need a cracker jack pianist, however, as
it goes quite quick in 2/2.
Craig C. Hawkins
Endwell (NY) Community Chorus
1. Eight Bright Candles, Weintraub, arr. Merman, Shawnee Press (SAB) -- nice
piece for 7th-8th chorus
2. Bashana Haba-a, Hirsh, arr. Leck (Boosey & Hawkes?) (SA) is not Hanukah
but New Year related so it could work in a program like this. (J. Leavitt
also has a decent arrangement for SAB & SATB)
3. Here In My House, Shader, Thedore Presser, Pub. (SA/2 Part) partner song
with Christmas and Hanukkah text. All groups I have done this with like it a
lot (even my adult choir) Very easy to put together.
Johnson Middle School
111 Robbins Road
Walpole, MA 02081
I hope this is of help. Yelton Rhodes Music's Hanukkah and Kwanzaa music is
some of our best selling music.
Joseph Jenning "Harambee" for mixed or treble or men's voices and percussion
Ginger Starling "Kwanzaa Spirit" for mixed chorus and piano
Lot's of selections from Yelton Rhodes Music, see the following links:
YRM New Releases for the spirit
Other music for Hanukkah
We also have just received a new piece by Scott Henderson entitled "Flames
of Faith" for SATB which is not yet in the catalog but could be made
available should there be a call for it.
Yelton Rhodes Music Publishers (BMI)
Barton Rhodes Press (ASCAP)
PO Box 46249
Los Angeles, CA 90046
323 848-2021 (voice)
323 650-1875 (fax)
There is a contemporary Hanukkah piece composed by Robert Evans Holmes
called "Beams of Gentle Light" which is absolutely lovely. The most common
arrangement is SATB, but the melody line is consistent and could certainly
be sung as a unison piece.
My wife is Linda Spevacek. I showed her your message and she gave me two of
her titles that may be of interest. I have included the JW Pepper link for
the first so that you may see the first two pages of the music and listen to
Hanukkah Nagilah, 2 Part - Heritage Music Press 15/1458H
Joy Of Hanukkah, 2 Part - Heritage Music Press 15/1220H
Warren Avery for
are all available in SA arrangements from HaZamir Publications at
Transcontinental Music Publ.
HaNeiros Halawlu (We Light the Menorah) Louis Lewandowski
Medium: SA, Organ
Language: Hebrew /English
'A Hymn for Chanukah'
No. 982069 $1.50
Polansky, David/Jacobson, Joshua, arr.
Medium: 2 Part Choir, Piano
No. 982083 $2.75
Ocho Kandelikas (8 Little Candles) (SA) Flory Jagoda
Medium: Solo (Med), SA, Guitar
'Ladino song for Chanukah'
No. 982070 $1.75
There's several lists of Hanukah (spelled Chanukah) music on ChoralNet:
click on Repertoire, then Lists, then Other Occasions. Some of it is bound
to be suitable for your ensemble.
If you do get an extensive list (especially of Kwanzaa stuff, though I doubt
there is much), send a summary to me (or post to Choralist) and I'll put it
Allen H Simon
VP for Website Development
Shawnee Press has a unison/2-part setting of HANUKKAH, O HANUKKAH by Edwin
T. Childs. It's easy and works well for kids.
>Not Kwanza but African
Allunde Alluia set by Margerite duGard perfectly lovely lullaby (I always
made it part of my Winter concert, kept everybody happy.
>I just love
Hanerot Halalu by Baruch Cohen arr Blanche Chass Mark Foster (so did my
I teach at a Catholic school, so Hannukah music isn't an issue for me...
however, as a Jewish student in middle and high school, I was somewhat
sensitive about the Hannukah songs chosen. I really did NOT like pieces
(don't know composer) entitled "Hannukah, Holiday of the Heart" and "Light
the Candles of Freedom" as they struck me as songs written in a Christmas
style or pop style with Hannukah lyrics. I would recommend arrangements of
more traditional songs such as "Mi Yemalel" (an English version should be
available "Who Can Retell" easily done in a 2 part round, highly
recommended), or perhaps a beautiful song called "Ner Li." I suppose that's
my best advice, err on the side of traditional Hannukah songs rather than
the songs that were clearly written for the specific purpose of being
performed by choirs that were looking for a token Hannukah song to throw
into a Christmas concert. Even doing a traditional Hebrew piece that isn't
specifically for Hannukah strikes me as better than the latter possibility.
We have a few things that seem to fit your criteria - and that others have
One is Zol Zain Sholem, an eastern European song in Yiddish that is in a
sort of call-and-response, solo/chorus style with vampy piano (feels a bit
like Klezmer music) - the words are easy, and various suggested Chanukah
phrases can be fit into the appropriate spots. VTS#24A $1.
For Kwanzaa, you could use the South African song, Somagwaza, which is a
coming of age song - has three simple interlocking parts, a cappella. VTS#07
$1, or, my arrangement of Yonder Come Day (based on a Georgia Sea Islands
spiritual), also a cappella, three VERY EASY parts that encourage audience
participation on the melody. VTS#10 $1.
Judith Cook Tucker, Publisher
World Music Press
Intercultural Understanding through Music
My favorite Hanukkah choral selection is:
Al Shlosha D'varim - 2-part treble by Alan Naplan. I believe it is
published by Boosey & Hawkes. It is gorgeous.
Moriarty High School Choral Department