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Middle school: Best Middle School pieces


Here are the responses I received after I posted my question a few days ago.
Thank you all very much for your suggestions.

-Molly Deich
New Brighton Middle School
Capitola, California

Promised Land-Natalie Sleeth 2 pt partner song
Yonder Come Day-Judith Tucker
Cameroon (Sorry everything is in school)
Dreams-Lon Beery
Boatman Dance Michael Grey Gray?
These above were universally loved by my 8th graders in the last couple of
years. I just remembered a class I took last summer. Below is the
literature list covered.
The class was taught by a director of a Children's choir so the music is for
unchanged voices but a wonderful list it is.


Adonai Roi Lo Escsar Gerald Cohen Transcontinental Music Press #991440
Al Shlosha DVarim Allan Naplan Boosey & Hawkes 2 Pt.
An Old Carol Quilter/ed. Brunelle Boosey & Hawkes OCTB6622
Art Thou Troubled ed. Bartle Hinshaw unison
Ask The Moon Ron Nelson Boosey & Hawkes #6100
Beautiful Nancy Michael Neaum
Bist Du Bei Mir Bach unison
Bless The Lord O My Soul Ruth Watson Henderson Hinshaw HMC-1 171 unison
Bye Oh Baby Malcolm Dalglish Boosey & Hawkes OCTB6633
Cantique de Jean Racine Faure
Christmas Carol, A Charles Ives Theodore Presser #342-40116 unison
Circles Mary Goetze Boosey & Hawkes OCTB6634 SS
Da Pacem Domine Melchoir Franck s several available conon 2,3,4,parts
Didnt My Lord Deliver Daniel arr. Emerson Hal Leonard?
Fantasy on Two Christmas Carols Nick Page Boosey & Hawkes OCTB6515 SSSA
Feel Good Tyson & Scott
Feel Good Tyson & Scott/arr. Baker & Elliot Boosey & Hawkes OCTB6858 2
Fire Mary Goetze Boosey & Hawkes OCTB6482 SSA
Fog Audrey Snyder Warner Brothers Sv8931? Canon 3 voices
Friday Aftenoons Benjamin Britten Boosey & Hawkes
Garden Walk Chris Dedrick
German Lullaby Dave & Jean Perry Shawnee Press EA-201 2 Pt.
Good Night arr. Rao Boosey& Hawkes OCTB6441 2 pt.
Hey Now Bob Chilcott Oxford
Hine Ma Tov Allan Naplan
Hymn To Freedom Oscar Peterson Walton Music Corp. WW 1135 3 pt,
I Will Bring You Brooches Ruth Boshkoff Boosey & Hawkes OCTB6740
Ill Give My Love An Apple I. Ramish Boosey & Hawkes OCTB6699?
If I could Be a Shepherd Eugene Butler Fischer CM 8390 unison
Inscription Of Hope Randall Stroope Heritage press
Las Amarillas Stephen Hatfield Boosey & Hawkes
Linden Lea R. Vaughn Williams Boosey & Hawkes OCTB6635 unison
Lluvia Boosey & Hawkes also SATB
Mid-Winter Bob Chilcott Oxford T121 SA
Minka arr. Jill Anne Jones Shawnee Press EA179 2 Pt.
Ning Windete Lana Walter Studio PR/ Warner Brothers SV9627 SSA
Now I walk In Beauty arr. Gregg Smith G. Schirmer #12374 canon
Nursery Rhyme Nonsnese Marilyn Broughton Gordon Thompson VG-184 Unison
Orkney Lullaby Donna Schultz Boosey & Hawkes SA also SATB SAB
Psalm 100 Renee Clausen Mark Foster MF 917
Shes Like The Swallow Lori-Anne Dolloff Boosey & Hawkes OCTB6701 unison
Shenendoah Blues Elliot Boosey & Hawkes OCTB6455 SA
Sing Dem Herrn Praetorius/Wallace DePue Warner Brothers SV8640 Canon
South African Suite arr. Leck Plymouth HL-200 SSA- SSAA
Sweet Song of Christmas Chris Dedrick/arr. Crocker Hal Leonard 08740255
The Angel Choir and The Trumpeter Chris Dedrick/arr. Leavitt Hal Leonard
The Birds B. Britten Oxford OCTB6524 unison
The Child Bob Chilcott Oxford U170 unison
The Holly and The Ivy Nick Page Boosey & Hawkes OCTB6516 2 pt.
The Ives Collection C. Ives Peer International Corp. 02-093576-101
The Last Straw Ruth Watson Henderson
The Lord Bless You and Keep You Rutter Hinshaw HMC-1169 SA
The Mouse Madrigal Steven Porter Plymouth Music SSA
The Swing Lightfoot Heritage Press 15/1174H 2 Pt.
The Wind On The Hill Victoria Ebel-Sabo Boosey & Hawkes OCTB6519 unison
The World is Full Of Poetry David Brunner Boosey & Hawkes OCTB6858
from cycle Earthsongs
Three Dominican Folksongs Francisco Nunez Boosey & Hawkes OCTB6737
Toucans Two David Brunner Boosey & Hawkes OCTB6752 2 Pt.
Vanitas, Vanitatum Sweelinck/arr. Rao Boosey & Hawkes Canon in 2,3,4
Velvet Shoes Randall Thompson E. C. Schirmer #2526 unison
Water Under Snow Is Weary Harri Wessman Walton Music Corp. WF 701 SSAA
When Children Sing Mary Goetze Boosey & Hawkes OCTB6764 2Pt.
Who Has Seen The Wind Vistoria Ebel-Sabo Boosey & Hawkes OCTB6773
Winter Song Audrey Snyder CPP Belwin SV9332
Winters A Drag Rag Natalie Sleeth 2 Pt.

I did the rock song "All Star" recorded by the group Smashmouth last year as
the finale of our concert with drum set, electric guitar, and synthesizer.
This was a real "hook" for all of my students, but especially some of the
boys. The kids loved this piece from the get go - and most of them already
knew it, so it practically taught itself. The parents and audience loved it
too. You can get the piano/vocal score from any place that sells pop sheet
music. Good luck.

Try "Yonder Come Day," published by World Music Press.
. A three-part partner song from the Georgia Sea

A great book of round is published by Boosey and Hawkes. It is called "150
Rounds", ed. Bolkovac and Johnson. songs are published in two formats for
easy cut and paste. Canons spell instant success and help inthe teaching of
pivoting voices for the boys.

I would encourage you to analyse your boys voices closely for range and
change. If you are blessed with one or two baritones look ahead to SATB this
year, don't force them to sing two part all year.

Start your warm-ups low around A below middle C to allow changing voices
some exercise. I actually start the routine with changing boys, add
baritones, then girls and unchanged voices.

I teach in a middle school. In a two day "cycle" I have ten choirs and two
general musics. I love this age group.

Hi. I am an elementary vocal music teacher with an 8th grade daughter.
Years ago, when I was teaching high school vocal music in the late 70's,
a song came out called "The Rhythm of Life." I can't remember the
composer but I could find out for you next week. I used it back then
with my beginning high school choir and they liked it. My daughter's
7th/8th grade chorus teacher used it last year with my daughter's mixed
choir and they all loved it. It's not "great" music, but it's upbeat,
fun, goes like the wind, fosters excellent diction, needs two good
accompanists (acc. is for one piano/4-hands) and reminds everyone how
fast middle school kids, especially the girls, can talk. Barb

First of all, AMAZING for you to quadruple your enrollment! Call some
Children's Choruses in your area.

When I taught middle school, "My Lord" by Joyce Eilers was
the closest to a sure thing that I had. Good luck.

I am on my third year of teaching choir a MS about the same size and same
situation as you, but I have really begun to understand what makes the kids
successful. Start out singing simple to moderate rounds/canon's - you
mentioned Israeli folk songs - try "Hashivenu" by Doreen Rao - it is for 3
part, but can be done in 2 part. Also, "It's a Small World After All" is
actually a round the verse and chorus work well together. Another is "Non
Nobis Domine" by William Byrd. These make the kids feel successful and like
they are singing 2 or 3 or 4 part harmony, which they are, but it is more a
confidence booster.

Also, if they are relatively new to choir or singing in harmony, try staying
away from songs that have a harmony line a 3rd below or above the melody
line. To untrained ears the harmonies sound so close they may not even
recognize 2 pitches are being played. Try songs that have a harmony a P4th
to a Maj. 6th apart. Sure, they can go down to a 3rd, but just not long
phrases of 3rd's.

on April 22, 2004 10:00pm
Regarding the Elementary teacher discussing Rhythm of Life, it is written by Cy Coleman and published originally for SATB. There has been a 2 part out for some time now also.
Choirs DO LOVE IT and grab onto it fast! I am teaching it to my 8th grade Select Mixed choir of 67 students for our Spring Concert. They beg for me to start with it every day. You are right, it is not just excellent choral music, but it is fresh, different, and rhythmically fun for middle schoolers. I love the way it builds with each page. I wasn't sure when I started, but it has proven to be very accessible to these adolescent voices!

Tammy Benton
Midway Middle School
on March 13, 2010 10:33am
Do you know who is the publisher of Rhythm of Life? JW Pepper dont seem to be able to find it.
I am also trying to find The Jamaican Marketplace/A Choral Tapestry recorded by ST Olaf Choir and Numberless are the Worlds wonders from the Gospel at Colonus.
Thanks a lot
Desmond Moulton
Brooklyn High School for Music and Theater
on July 25, 2004 10:00pm
I am looking for the publisher of a peice called The Last Leviathon or something like that arr. by Roger Egan It was performed at the L.A. 2000 Western Division ACDA Convention by the Honors Choir Middle School. The text is about the voice of the whale who has been hunted and wounded. It starts out with two soloist.

If anyone knows of this peice please e-mail me at

Lorri Cetto
Hall High School
West Hartford, Ct
on August 16, 2004 10:00pm
I am new to the middle school situation and have no idea what kind of music to pick. Most of the library is for two treble voices, however there are clearly some lower male voices. Can we perform these in trable with the octave lower (second part)?
on August 6, 2007 10:00pm
I second and third Yonder Come Day by Judith Tucker! Non Nobis Domine, too! It works!

Ave Verum by Mozart and arranged by r. Von Mojsisovics (SAA) is beautiful in choirs with Cambiata voices. I believe this is out of print. My octavo was copyrighted in 1921.

Ye Banks and Braes arranged by Russell Robinson (Three part mixed) is very nicely arranged, in my humble opinion, for MS singers and worked well on my recital.

Just for fun, and to the great joy and pleasure of my students and the audience, we did Dragosta Din Tei (Numa Numa) by the group O-zone as a closer. It highlighted the three major distinctions in male vocal development - treble (unchanged), cambiata, and settled baritone. Adding simple dance moves and ribbon streamers, we performed this song with a background track as it is a techno dance piece.

Ruth Seiler
Camino Real Middle School
Las Cruces, NM