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Treble: Masterworks for Elementary School Choirs

Date: Sat, 27 Jun 1998 09:11:11 PDT
From: "Craig Hawkins"
Subject: Elementary School Music compilation

Dear colleagues --

I hope no one ahs been holding their breath for this compilation. It is
from a request I posted last August for "Classical" repetoire for an
elementary school-aged ensemble. Many thanks to all who contributed. A
list of contributors appears at the end.

Check the Doreen Rao series published by Boosey and Hawkes. She also
has a comprehensive choral performance curriculum published in the
textbook, _We Will Sing_, also published by Boosey.

Check also the Toronto Children's Choir Series edited by Jean Ashworth
Bartle, Gordon V. Thompson publishers; the Mary Goetze series published
by Oxford.

There is much quality repertoire to be found on the ChoralNet Web Site
as well.

>Look at Doreen Rao's series published by Boosey and Hawkes.>


Last year, I ran accross the Messiah for young voices in my JW Pepper
catalogue. Also, Shawnee press just presented a few classical pieces
composed for 3 part. I teach middle school, and I often adapt harder
arrangements for my beginning choirs. Just choose which 2 parts you
want them to sing. Sometimes these pieces work well in unison.


Besides my University work and conducting the Oahu Choral Society and
Hawai'i Vocal Arts Ensemble, I teach a 5th-8th grade choir at the
Honolulu Waldorf School. We do mostly classical music, mostly original,
not arrangements. Best of luck to you. A partial list below:

Purcell: Sound the trumpet
Humperdinck: Prayer from Hansel and Gretel
Vivaldi: Gloria and Laudamus te
Bach: Wir eilten (Cantata 78)
Mozart: Ave verum corpus
Schubert: Benedictus from Mass in G


The Gordon Thompson catalogue has some wonderful arrangements for treble
voices of classical pieces. Jean Ashworth Bartle is responsible for many
of the pieces in this great catalogue. Check it out. Of course, the
Choristers Guild catalogue has some fine classical treble pieces, too.


Doreen Rao has several arrangements of traditional choral works in her
"Choral Music Experience" series, published by Boosey & Hawkes. There
are too many to list here, but Boosey could provide you with some
titles. She has included a couple of Bach duets, the "Pie Jesu" from
Faure's Requiem, Mozart's "Laudate Dominum," etc.

In addition, her textbook "We Will Sing" includes some other standards.
The book is aimed at the elementary music class and/or choir, and has a
lot of good pieces to choose from.


Have you looked at Hal Hopson's arrangements? He has done some
really nice work with two and three part settings of "classic"


Their are several arrangements of Franck's "Panis Angelicus" (O Lord
Most Holy). These usually include a unison statement to open the
piece, then a simple 2-pt. canon of the melody. I think Hal Hopson
arranged the piece. I'll suggest further when I have a chance to check
my reference octavos.


Craig ... get your hands on a Boosey and Hawkes catalogue and look up
the Doreen Rao series for children's choirs. You will find something
there. Also, the B&H series edited by Mary Goetze is excellent. Good


My husband and I were very successful for many years--we're now
retired--with childrens' choirs, and we found art songs by such
composers as Schubert, Schumann, etc., to be very useful. Also,
Benjamin Britten writes very nicely for children. You might browse
through a large music store's collections for such things as duets, or
two-part compositions appropriate for elementary school age folks.
There are Kodaly pieces for children, and there is a collection called
"Bicinia Americana" (I think) which has some nice compositions in it.
Good luck to you in your search for quality repertoire.


How about Mozart's Ave Verum Corpus or Palistrina's Adoramus Te? Both
can be found in 2 part arrangements and fit well with the young voices.
I try to do "classics" in the original language (in this case Latin)
which softens the religious aspect which in New England we have to be
careful of. Also, Mozart wrote a wonderful 3 part setting of The
Alphabet which is really nice. There are also decent arrangements of The
Magic Flute, The Trout and although not entirely from the realm of the
greats, Frederic Silver's Mr. Bach is a good 2 part introduction to
Baroque style. He's also done Mr. Mozart, and others, but Bach's my
favorite. There are even a couple of transcriptions of the Hallelujah
Chorus adapted for young voices.

I try to program one classical piece and a couple of folk songs to
counter balance the pop stuff. After awhile, even though the parents in
the audience tend to favor the familiar pop songs, the kids themselves
begin to appreciate quality literature. Good Luck!


I am aware of a series of classics for young voices although I think
they are all major works. Here is what is listed on the back of my
"Christmas Messiah for Young Voices:"

Classic Choruses for Young Voices (IMGC9301)
Easter Messiah for Young Voices (IMGC9501)
Elijah for Young Voices (IMGC9401)
Gloria for Young Voices -Vivaldi (IMGC9201)

and the one I have

Christmas Messiah for Young Voices (IMGC9101)

I think these are all edited (arranged?) by Dr Tim Sharp and DR Vernon
Whaley. They are for two part voices. The publisher is Integra.


Actually, just this past spring I put on a "Masterworks" concert with my
4th and 5th grade choir. Not all of them were "purely" classical, but
here's our program:

The Singers - Ralph Vaughan Williams
The Sandman - Johannes Brahms, arr. Gallina
Non Nobis Domine - William Byrd (performed by a small select ensemble)
Mozart's Messy Room Sonata - W.A. Mozart, arr. Wolfe (based on the
Sonata in C)
Art Thou Troubled? - G.F. Handel, ed. Bartle
Operatunities - Mary Donnelly, arr. Strid (a compilation of favorite
opera tunes)

If you need any additional info on these pieces, let me know and I'd be
happy to help!


Though I'm not an elem teacher, the one that comes to mind is the Jill
Gallina piece (title escapes me right now) that contains Ode to Joy, and
maybe another melody. It's worth checking out. (I hope this is not the
one to which you refer...)

Also, Doreen Rao/Boosey and Hawkes puts out wonderful 2 part
arrangements for elem. school (they also write some more difficult 3 and
4 part treble pieces as well), though not specifically classical pieces.
[They are of very high quality...]


There is a lot of good music not of the pop genre. Take a look at
Natalie Sleeth pieces. She has lots of good 2 part music available.
Hinshaw, I think.


Craig, Boosey & Hawkes has a unison Brhams piece entitled
"Marienwurmchen" (Ladybug) which can be sung in German or English.

P.S. B & H also has a unison version of Aaron Copland's "Ching-a-Ring


You could take a look at Theron Kirk's arrangement of a Handel
chorus. It's under the title "Sing His Praise" published by Coronet
392-41945 in the Multi-Chorus Series. A little more difficult, but
also for Multi-Chorus, is Jean Martin's arrangement of Mendelssohn's
"But the Lord Is Mindful of His Own" from the oratorio "St. Paul".


Get your hands on the J. Pepper catalog. They are also on-line (I don't
have the addresss here) Good luck!


There is a 4 pt. canon by Mozart to which a modern text has been added
that is quite suitable for young voices. ("Friends forget the cares that
bore us... is one version of that text.) It should be found in some
elementary music texts. I don't know if its published but the tune
should be in public domain.


David Stocker has done a wonderful arrangement of a baroque piece for
treble voices. Entitled "French Noel" it is published by Thomas House
Publications (1C0368602).

In response to your search for quality music for young singers. D. Rao's
Choral Experience repertoire is top notch. Music of the masters as well
as new music written for developing choirs is available. A collection
called the Julliard Repertory Library is available from West Music and
is filled with wonderful music. You might also consider your MENC State
Chapter to see if they have a
list of appropriate music. Good Luck!


You've got to try "Heart's Adoration" by Marcello. It's written for 2
parts and gives chances for all voices to sing the melody. Gorgeous!!
It's by Oxford Easy Anthems.

Also, you must try "Praise The Lord, Our God, Forever" by Mozart. This
is arranged by Walter Ehret. Make sure you ask for the two part
arrangement. It is called a "concert round" but it really offers more
than that.


My all-time favorite for this age is Handel's "Give Thanks and Praise"
(2pt.) published by Celebrations Unlimited (P.O. Box 30775, Columbus OH
43230)--Cu-177. Another good collection is Three Mozart Canons, but I
unfortunately do not have a copy of this at home to give you all the
particulars. Another good title is "Songs of a Starry Night" (it's a
weaving of two or three Texas folksongs)--I think the arranger is


I don't know if there are choral arrangements, but every kid knows
Twinkle Little Star>, the old French tune that Mozart made into his
variations . Your kids might think it's a
song* at first, but if you show them what Mozart did with it, and maybe
invite them to suggest some contemporary variations (one of Mozart's
like hip hop!) , they could help you write it (maybe with new lyrics).
could be a great participatory experience for them in composition and
them some insight into how composers--even *dead white guys*--sometimes
worked. They wouldn't have to learn the tune, either. And if you are
a concert, think how an *original* classical piece would be received by


Have you considered Jean Berger's "Child's Book of Beasts?" There may
be an "A" or "The" in the title. I've done it with high school women
and sixth grade treble chorus. Both groups loved it.

There are many things in the Henry Leck series for treble, young choir.
You might consider the 3pt "South African Freedom Songs", there are two
sets that are similar. One has "Siyahamba," the other has
"Singabahamba." Also, the Doreen Rao series is geared for treble
choir. I have seen many other classical pieces in two part. Try
or Schubert. Some other tried and true pieces off the top of my head
are: "Panis Angelicus," "With Songs of Rejoicing" (Bach), "The Water
Wide," "Velvet Shoes" (Thompson). "Niska Banja," and "Praise Ye the
of Hosts" (Saint-Saens)

A good resource in Tennessee is Madeline Bridges at Middle Tennessee
State University. Don't know her email, but I'm sure you can find it.


Natalie Pessin Bliss
Marketing Director
Theodore Presser Company


Jonathan Veenker
Associate Professor of Music
Bethel College

Vern Sanders

Norma Browning
Carolyn Lokken

Jon Sprague

Ann Carter

Lisa Howe
Choral Director
West High
Knoxville, TN

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