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High school: Repertoire every HS or church choral director should know


Thank you to all who responded to my request for repertoire. As you may
recall, my request was for your top 25 (or so) works that every high school
and/or church choir conductor should have at their disposal. What follows
is a complete compilation (in two parts) of the responses. I must say, it
would take at least a three year cycle of Choral Literature classes to get
through all of this repertoire. Since I am focusing on only repertoire
appropriate for reasonably skilled high school and church choirs, the
asterisks indicate works that I will be including in my class's work next

The second part of this compilation is an extensive list provided by Denise
Baccadutre. Denise also includes some excellent thoughts on choosing
repertoire for high school and church settings.

For the high school portion of the class I will also be including as a
reference, the ACDA Monographs dealing with quality repertoire for high
school and college choirs (available at ). For the
church portion I will be using the Oxford "New Church Anthem Book."

A constant thread in the responses admonished me to deal with issues
relating to teaching the repertoire as well as the repertoire itself. That
was in my plan, and your suggestions have been heard.

Happy reading!

Bill McConnell

Bach, J.S.
Cantata 4
Jesu, meine Freude
"Ich lasse dich nicht" (Either J.S. or Johann Christoph Bach. The
attribution is unsettled.)
Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring *

Bainton, Edgar
And I Saw a New Heaven

Samuel Barber
The Coolin *
Sure on this Shining Night *

Beethoven, Ludwig van
Hallelujah (Mount of Olives) *

on October 29, 2002 10:00pm

If Music be the food of love- David Dickau
Shut de do- Arr. Mark Hayes
Elijah Rock- Jester Hairston or Moses Hogan
Witness- Halloran
Auction Cries- John Biggs (really fun!)
Ain'a that good news- Dawson
My spirit sang all day- Finzi
With a Lily in her hand- Whitacre
O Magnum Mysterium- Lauridsen
Set me as a seal- Clausen
A Jubilant Song- Clausen or Dello Joio
Ubi Caritas- Lauridsen

on January 30, 2003 10:00pm
One favorite of the kids (and myself) is If Music Be the Food of Love, by Jean Belmont.
on February 19, 2003 10:00pm
Thanks to all involved with this discussion. Many of the titles I have used in teaching my students (31 years-20,000+ students). Here are some additions to consider.....

May There Always Be Sunshine (SATB) Arr. Robert DeCourmier (Fabulous piece using English and Russian language at the same time).

Send Down the Rain (SAB/3 part) Joyce Eilers. A wonderful piece to teach beginning part singing and the altos have the melody! I love it when altos get to sing a "real" part that goes somewhere!

Sing unto God (Judas Maccabeus) GF Handel Arr. Condie (former director of the Morman Tablenacle Choir). A beautiful piece (not easy) but the kids love it because it's so fun to sing. Uptempo and full of mellisma (sp?)that makes sense

Thy Will Be Done (SATB) Joyce Eilers. A beautiful sacred piece dedicated to my dear friend Janet Howland and her son Eric who passed away in his teens. Fabulous text about the difficulty of life's disappointments and the strength that God gives us to "go on". The middle section is a setting of the Lord's Prayer. I've used it at both church and school and is a real winner. The background parts are the simplist and quickest way to teach 4-part writing I know.

on May 10, 2003 10:00pm
I'm very pleased with your really helps me alot to get a good start...I'm actually the new choir master for my church...So i'm very much young training them...

However, I was thinking if u have a recommended list of Christmas songs that ranges from medieval to contemporary style...
on May 10, 2003 10:00pm

Try > Repertoire > Lists > Christian Seasons & Holidays > Christmas
You'll find dozens of lists of Christmas repertoire.
on May 24, 2003 10:00pm
I could use some help. I am the Art teacher at Hardin High School in SE Texas. Hardin has never before had a choir program, and it really hurt my heart that so many kids had no idea of the possibilities that vocal music can offer. I was one of those that survived school just so that I could sing, act and paint. My own children are very accomplished musicians, and my oldest daughter has continued to compete successfully in UIL, without a choir director, at our new school. Last year many of the students told me that they wanted a choir, wanted to learn how to sing. So...I spoke to the principal about choir. Next fall I am the Art / Choir instructor. Now, I know that I don't know everything that I should, but I have studied voice through church and univerisity choir and private instruction. I have managed to find a good piano, am having choral risers built, am looking for an accompanist, and just recently found out that I have 45 students enrolled for the fall.(only 5 guys)Several of the students are coming to me from other school programs, having moved to our area, but most have not had any training since elementary school. We have tried to get the state approved Choir Text, but with a freeze on all textbooks until the legislature figures out where they put their heads, I have to find something to start with. I just printed out the Repertoire Resources compilation (many of which I recognized), but with no knowledge of the abilities of these kids, I am not sure where to start. Prayers would surely help, but I am also looking for some good information. This choir is going to happen, I just want to make sure that I do it right. Thanks for any input...Tamara Madl

on June 6, 2003 10:00pm
Hi, again. I realize the message I just posted did not accept my email address because I put it in brackets both times. In case you did not get it in the From blank here it is again: kwatkins

Please reply!
Daniel J. Watkins
on June 6, 2003 10:00pm
Hi! In August, I will be a junior at Richland High School near Fort Worth, Texas. I love anything about choral music and am very interested in the repertoire aspect. In my 16 years, I have of course found favorite pieces. I have finally compiled a list of my favorite repertoire: 10 mens pieces, 10 womens pieces, and 20 mixed pieces, along with notes on how I found these. The list is updated every month, so I will be coming back here regularly. I am also beginning to compose. If you have any ideas for me, please email me at . Thanks for your time!


"Brother Will, Brother John" by John Sacco, for TTBB chorus and piano accompaniment. Published by G. Schirmer/Hal Leonard. Found this looking through the Hal Leonard Essential Repertoire.

"Do You Fear the Wind?" by Leland B. Sateren, for TTBB chorus a cappella. Published by Belwin-Mills/Warner Brothers. The RHS Varsity Mens chorus sang this at UIL in 2002.

"Drinking Song ('Back and side go bare')" from In Windsor Forest by Ralph Vaughan Williams, for TTBB chorus with piano accompaniment. Published by Oxford University Press. Found this flipping through the choral library. RVW is my favorite classical composer right now.

"Fight the good fight with all thy might" from Five Hymns in Popular Style by John Gardner, for TTBB chorus and piano accompaniment. Published by Oxford University Press. On the Texas All-State list for 2002-2003.

"If Music Be the Food of Love" by David C. Dickau, for TTBB chorus with piano accompaniment. Published by Plymouth. On the Texas All-State list for 2001-2002.

"The Last Words of David" by Randall Thompson, for TTBB chorus with piano, orchestral, or concert band accompaniment. Published by E.C. Schirmer. On the Texas All-State list for 2001-2003.

"No One's Perfect" arranged by Walter Rodby for TTBB chorus with two solos, a cappella (with opt. pitch pipe). Published by Somerset/Hope. Hilarious! Friend's mens chorus sang it at college.

"Shenandoah" arranged by Paul Basler for TTB chorus with piano accompaniment. Published by Plymouth. Middle School All-Region choir piece, 1999-2000.

"Sing for Joy" by Allen Pote, arranged by Paul Hall for TTBB chorus with keyboard or keyboard and ensemble accompaniment. Published by Hinshaw. RHS Varsity Men, 2002.

"The Tabernacle of God Is with Men" by Edwin Fissinger, for TTBB chorus a cappella. Published by Jenson/Hal Leonard. Flipped through the library. I love Fissinger's chords!


"Ah! si mon moine voulait danser!" from Six Songs of Early Canada by Donald Patriquin, for SSAA chorus with piano accompaniment and optional percussion. Published by earthsongs. RHS Varsity Women, 2002.

"Cantate Domino! Alleluia!" by Cristi Cary Miller, for SSA chorus with piano accompaniment. Published by Hal Leonard. Middle School Honor Treble Choir, 1999-2000.

"Hey Nonny No!" from Four English Songs by Crystal LaPoint Kowalski, for SSAA chorus a cappella. Published by Lawson-Gould/Alfred. 9th Grade Honor Choir, 2001-2002.

"Homeward Bound" by Marta Keen, arranged by Jay Althouse, for SSA chorus with piano accompaniment. Published by Alfred. Middle School Honor Treble Choir, 1999-2000.

"In Remembrance" from Requiem by Eleanor Daley, for SSAA chorus a cappella. Published by Gordon Thompson/Warner Brothers. RHS Varsity Women, 2002.

"The Moon of Wintertime" by George L. Mabry, for SSA chorus and three solos with piano accompaniment. Published by Roger Dean/Lorenz. RHS women, Christmas 2002.

"Of Creation" by Linda Spevacek, for SSA chorus and keyboard. Published by Hal Leonard. HL Essential Repertoire.

"Psalm 100" by Rene Clausen, for SSA chorus with two pianos or piano and ensemble accompaniment. Published by Mark Foster/Shawnee. RHS Varsity women, 2003.

"Sing Creations Music On" from Songs Eternity by Stephen Paulus, for SSA chorus with piano accompaniment. Published by Paulus. Texas All-State, 2002-2003.

"The Violet" by Mark Patterson, for SSA chorus with keyboard accompaniment. Published by BriLee. Middle School All-Region, 2000-2001.


"Antiphon" from Five Mystical Songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams, for SATB chorus with piano or orchestral accompaniment. Published by Galaxy/E.C. Schirmer. Texas All-State, 2001-2002.

"Ave Maria (Angelus Domini)" by Franz Biebl, for SAATTBB chorus a cappella. Published by Hinshaw. Texas All-State, 2001-2002.

"Bitter for Sweet" by John Chorbajian, for SATB chorus with divisi, a cappella. Published by G. Schirmer/Hal Leonard. HL Essential Repertoire.

Finale from The Gondoliers ("Dance a cachuca, fandango, bolero") by Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan, arranged by Henry Clough-Leighter and G.Wallace Woodworth for SATB chorus with divisi and four-hand piano accompaniment. Published by E.C. Schirmer. RHS Spring 2003.

"Daniel, Daniel, Servant of the Lord" arranged by Undine S. Moore for SSAATTBB chorus and two solos, a cappella. Published by Warner Brothers. Flipping through library.

"Dieu! qu'il la fait bon regarder! (Lord, lovely hast thou made my dear!)" from Trois Chansons by Claude Debussy, for SATB chorus a cappella. Published by Durand/Theodore Presser/Hal Leonard?. RHS Chorale 2003.

"Elijah Rock" arranged by Moses Hogan for SSATTBB chorus a cappella. Published by Hal Leonard. Friend sang this at college.

"From Sea to Shining Sea" by Samuel A. Ward, paraphrased by Maurice C. Whitney, for SATB chorus with piano, orchestral, or band accompaniment. Published by Warner Brothers. RHS 2002, 2003, etc.

Third Movement from Christmas Cantata ("Gloria in excelsis Deo") by Daniel Pinkham, for SATB chorus with brass and organ. Published by Robert King. RHS Christmas 2002.

"Hallelujah!" from The Messiah by George F. Handel, for SATB Chorus with keyboard or orchestral accompaniment. Published by G. Schirmer/Hal Leonard. Who hasn't heard this?

"Jubilance" by Linda Steen Spevacek, for SATB chorus with piano accompaniment. Published by Hal Leonard. 9th grade honor choir, 2001-2002.

"Lamentations of Jeremiah (Lamentaciones de Jeremias)" by Z. Randall Stroope, for SATB chorus with piano accompaniment. Published by Alliance. Texas All-State 2002-2003.

"Let Nothing Ever Grieve Thee (Lass dich nur nichts nicht dauren)" by Johannes Brahms, for SATB chorus with organ or piano accompaniment. Published by C.F. Peters. Texas All-State 2002-2003.

"Like as the Culver on the Bared Bough" by Halsey Stevens, for SSATB chorus, a cappella. Published by Associated/Hal Leonard. HL Essential Repertoire.

"Make a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord" by Kirke Mechem, for SATB chorus a cappella. Published by E.C. Schirmer. RHS Chorale 2003.

Third Movement of A Psalm of David ("Miserere mei, Deus") by Norman Dello Joio for SATB chorus and piano or orchestral accompaniment. Published by Carl Fischer. Texas All-State 2001-2002.

"Praise the Name of God with a Song" by Allen Koepke, for SATB chorus, a cappelal. Published by Hal Leonard. RHS Chorale 2002.

"Sing a Mighty Song" by Daniel E. Gawthrop, for SATB chorus with piano, organ, or ensemble accompaniment. Published by Alliance. RHS 2003.

"Sing Me to Heaven" by Daniel E. Gawthrop, for SATB chorus a cappella. Published by Dunstan House. RHS Chorale 2002.

"Svete tihiy (Gladsome light)" by Alexandre Gretchaninoff, for SATBB chorus, a cappella. Published by Musica Russica. Texas All-State 2002-2003.

Now that I'm all worn out from typing, additional notes may or may not be given next month, along with revisions to this list, Lord willing and the creek don't rise.

By the way, previous office-holders were Bob Chilcott's "Londonderry Air", Norman Dello Joio's "Of Crows and Clusters", and Vincent Persichetti's "sam was a man." Tune in (ha!) next month for any revisions, if I'm still here and/or they don't take away this email for excessive length/stupidity. Thank you, and please reply!

Daniel J. Watkins
on June 30, 2003 10:00pm
The July list is up! Since there have been multiple revisions since I began the list in May, instead of posting corrections I have redone the list. Here goes!

Mens Top Ten:
Basler, P. (arr.) - "Shenandoah"
Dickau, D.C. - "If Music Be the Food of Love"
Fissinger, E. - "The Tabernacle of God Is with Men"
Gardner, J. - "Fight the Good Fight with All Thy Might"
Pote, A. (arr. P. Hall) - "Sing for Joy"
Sacco, J. - "Brother Will, Brother John"
Sateren, L. B. - "Do You Fear the Wind?"
Thompson, R. - "The Last Words of David"
Thompson, R. - "The Pasture"
Vaughan Williams, R. - "Drinking Song"

Womens Top Ten:
Clausen, R. - "Psalm 100"
Daley, E. - "In Remembrance"
Keen, M. (arr. J. Althouse) - "Homeward Bound"
Kowalski, C. L. - "Hey Nonny No!"
Mabry, G. L. - "The Moon of Wintertime"
Miller, C. C. - "Cantate Domino! Alleluia!
Patriquin, D. (arr.) - "Ah! si mon moine voulait danser!"
Patterson, M. - "The Violet"
Paulus, S. - "Sing Creations Music On"
Spevacek, L. - "Of Creation"

Mixed Top Twenty (because the repertoire is bigger):
Biebl, F. - "Ave Maria"
Brahms, J. - "Lass dich nur nichts nicht dauren"
Chorbajian, J. - "Bitter for Sweet"
Debussy, C. - "Dieu! qu'il la fait bon regarder!"
Dello Joio, N. - Part III from A Psalm of David
Gawthrop, D. E. - "Sing a Mighty Song"
Gawthrop, D. E. - "Sing Me to Heaven"
Gretchaninoff, A. - "Svete tihiy"
Handel, G. F. - "Hallelujah!"
Hogan, M. G. (arr.) - "Elijah Rock"
Koepke, A. - "Praise the Name of God with a Song"
Lutkin, P. C. - "The Lord Bless You and Keep You"
Mechem, K. - "Make a Joyful Noise Unto the Lord"
Moore, U. S. (arr.) - "Daniel, Daniel, Servant of the Lord"
Muczynski, R. - "Alleluia"
Pinkham, D. - "Gloria in excelsis Deo" (Part III from Christmas Cantata)
Rutter, J. - "Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind"
Stroope, Z. R. - "Lamentations of Jeremiah"
Sullivan, A. S. - Finale from the Gondoliers
Vaughan Williams, R. - "Antiphon"

So begins July.
If this is too cumbersome for this area (updates every month? argh!), let me know, but I wanted to publicize my list (somehow).

Daniel J. Watkins

on January 8, 2004 10:00pm
While I appreciate the work that goes into compiling a repertoire list, I was disappointed by the omission of any works by F. Melius Christiansen or his son Paul J. Christiansen. Not only did they compose beautiful hymn arrangements and original works, but F. Melius is considered by many to be the founder of the a cappella choral music tradition in this country. The majority of their works are often too musically mature for most high school students, but the repertoire should still be familiar to directors and their students.

A partial list:
F. Melius Christiansen
"O Day Full of Grace"
"Praise to the Lord"
"Lost in the Night"
"Wake, Awake, for Night is Flying"
"Celestial Spring" (four movements)
"Beautiful Savior"
"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"
"All My Heart"

Paul J. Christiansen
"The King of Love"
"My Song in the Night"
"O Day Full of Grace"
"Prayers of Steel"
"Easter Carol"

Thanks to choralnet for making resources such as this available.
University of Houston
on March 22, 2004 10:00pm
Hi. Is there set criteria for classifying choral music into categories according to "levels of difficulty"? I realize that publishing companies place repertoire into various levels, but what criteria are used for this classification process? Even the MENC standards mention music at various "levels." So far, no one can come up with these criteria. I have put together my own list including the obvious: voicing, tempo, text, language, divisi of parts, melissma, dynamic nuance, leaps, chromatics, etc., etc., etc. If you know of definite criteria, please respond; I am in the process of instituting an honors choir curriculum guide and to say that the students will be studying and performing music at a level 6 is not enough for my administration. They need a comparative list of criteria to distinguish between the general and honors level.
Tom Finetti, Choral Director, Belleville HS, Belleville, NJ
on May 16, 2004 10:00pm
Some great songs that may or may not be thought of for hs

TTBB- Dance and Invocation-David Conte
Ave Maria-Franz Beibl
The Awakening-Joseph Martin

SSAA- Set Me as a Seal-Richard Nance

SATB- Psalm 36-Richard Nance-2002 ACDA Commisioned work.
Traveling Song-Glinka
Magnificat from Electa-Belmont
Sand County-Belmont
A Boy was Born and Jesu as thou art our saviour from A Boy Was
Born by Britten
Open Thou Mine Eyes-Rutter
Song of Democracy-Hanson
Anything Moses Hogan
Och Jung Frun hon gar i ringen-Alfven (In Texas PML is english A
Maiden is a ring in the Class IV a capella section, but much
better in Swedish)
Sicut Chervus-Palestrina
Sing Me to Heaven-Gawthrop
Rest-Ralph Vaughn Williams

I guess that is all for now.
on July 24, 2004 10:00pm
Soy director de un coro mixto que participamos generalmente en eventos de car
on September 5, 2004 10:00pm
As a former High school Choir Kid. I miss it so much. I would say my Fav song i ever sang and still listen to is

"Sing me to heaven" SATB
and "Prayer for the children" SATB

on the later we had the Concert hall Silent and filled with tears. Its very moving.
on September 17, 2004 10:00pm
I was wondering if anyone could help me. I am a new music teacher at a charter high school in Boston. The kids are concerned that I won't be able to give them music they can relate to because I have a madrigal background and apparently that is not "fun" :). I would greatly appreciate any suggestions.
Thanks for your help.
on July 13, 2005 10:00pm
Dear New Music Teacher,

Madrigals can be fun! But you may want to introduce them to some King's Singers arrangements. There is also a great catalogue called "Mainly A Cappella" that specializes is pop...some books by CASA, etc. For fun, you may want to introduce them to PDQ Bach "My Bonny Lass She Smelleth" and the counter-act that with the original "My Bonny Lass She Smileth." Anyhoo, I hope this helps. Sorry for any typos, but I hope this gives you something to play with.
--Carolyn Mitchell
Director of Choral Activities
Marquette High School
Chesterfield, Missouri
on June 21, 2006 10:00pm
You are still the best Choral Music website in the world. Thank you for everything you do.
on September 1, 2007 10:00pm
The music on this site is very good. I am a high school singer in my schools womans ensemble, we sing very easy music and i'm looking for music to give my teacher that will challenge us. we're looking for folk songs, christmas music, and sky/star themed music. Jazz would also be wonderful. any suggestions?

and may i suggest "Adiemus" from "Songs of Sanctuary" and "Magnificat" by Z. Randall Stroope. "Gaudete" is also a wonderful piece
on November 19, 2007 10:00pm
omg you all are soooooooooooooooo helpful thanks
on February 9, 2009 10:00pm
the music that is on this cite is amazing. However, i suggest there be more of a variety on the cite, even though the songs are nice my choir and i agree that there should be a greater variety like more songs for the black community. BBD also agree's with me. She has even evovled into stephanilia.