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Nature: Animals

Dear Listers,

Here is the compilation on Animal pieces. As I had asked for SATB and
childrens chorus too, some of you sent recommendations for pieces that
weren't about animals, (which is due to my fuzzy request,) so I haven't
included them in this posting. Thanks to all for your great help!
Several years ago, I presented a concert entitled "Counterpoint of the
Animals" Included on the program: Ivor Davies' Prayers from the Ark,
Banchieri's Contrapunto bestiale alla mente (Counterpoint of the Animals),
Il bianco e dolce cigno, Arcadelt, The Silver Swan, Gibbons, Audite Nova,
Lasso,Il est bel et bon, Passereau, El grillo, des Pres, And there came all
manner of flies (from Israel in Egypt), Handel. Also, Didn't my Lord
deliver Daniel? arr. Hunter, Daniel Pinkham's Daniel in the Lion's Den,
Ol'Man Noah, arr. Bartholemew, Let me Fly! by Decormier and Who's afraid of
the big, bad wolf? by Luboff. Good luck, Dr.Harry Mechell Director of Choral
Activities Winona State University Winona, MN 55987 hmechell(a) ------
Mathematical Zoo
A Little Sweep

Polly Murray
Don't know if you're looking for children's music pertaining to animals, but
if you're looking for advanced, Zae Munn, a composer from Indiana has a
collection entitled 5 Animal Songs. They are rhythmically challenging and
each one is unique unto itself. Our college touring choir performed 3 of them
this past year. (Note--see below for info)

Kate Gabriel
Conrappunto bestiale alla mente
Adriano Banchieri
El Grillo
Josquin des Pres
The Bee
Frank Bridge The Three Ravens
e.g. arr, Edward Chapman Of Crows and Clusters
Norman Dello Joio A Dog Known as Ego
Lars-Erik Larsson Ngana
Stephen Leek Hakuna Matata
/Elton John (& Tim Rice?) Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf arr. Norman
Old Horatius Had a Farm Z. Randall Stroope
Childhood Fables for Grownups Irving Fine
SATB& Children's Choir:
Psalmkonzert Heinz Werner Zimmerman
Celtic Requiem John Tavener
; (if you're truly ambitious, and maybe a little warped)
John M. Crowell
The following ChoralNet resources may be useful: Repertoire ; Lists ; Concert Themes ; Environment Voicing/ Treble with SATB
(there are several of these)

Allen H Simon
Here are a few suggestions for you from Yelton Rhodes Music.

Critters - Several American Folk Songs (1998)
COMPOSER :: David Evan
AUTHOR :: 1. The Goose, the Hog and my Dog Blue
2. All the Pretty Horses
3. Leatherwing Bat

INSTR :: SSAA a cappella
DURATION :: 08:00
PRODUCT :: YR7300 Full score $2.25

Animal Songs, Five (1998)
COMPOSER :: Zae Munn
AUTHOR :: Text by Peg Lauber
INSTR :: SATB and piano
DURATION :: 18:00
PRODUCT :: YR8302 Full score $3.50
Yelton Rhodes Music

Animals, eh?; There are lots of vocal works about birds--

R. Murray Shafer's Bestiary (difficult but wonderful)
Randall Thompson: The Pelican (from The Place of the Blest)
Dinerstein: Frogs
Appalachian lullaby: All the Pretty Little Horses
arr. Copland: I Bought Me a Cat
Tavener: The Lamb
settings of Blake's poem "The Tyger" ("Tyger, tyger, burning bright")
Christmas carols: "Carol of the Animals" ("I, said the donkey, shaggy and
Rutter: Donkey Carol ("Donkey riding...")
Quebec folksong: "Were you ever in Quebec...riding on a donkey."
Hindemith: "La Biche" (The Doe) and "Un Cygne" (A Swan) from Six Chansons
Fetler: The Wild Swans
Copland: The Lark

Kirin Nielsen

I have a fondness for the poetry of Edward lear, there is a Unison setting of
the Jumblies (owl and Pussycat) by Armstrong Gibbs, a setting of the Quangle
Wangle Quee (all imaginary animals) by myself (send me an address I will send
you  copy). As for SATB And Children, Andrew Carters Benedicite (OUP)
Contains some wonderful Childrens songs set inside a larger SATB framework
Tim Knight

I recently did an animal-theme concert with my (SATB) youth choir programme
follows, lots of lovely stuff there. Quite a few pieces came from the
"Chester Book of Madrigals" animal volume (they have thematic volumes
seasons, love, war & politics etc)

Paul Ayres
electronic mail paulayres(a)

Orlando Gibbons - The silver swan
Josquin des Prez - El Grillo
Johann Sebastian Bach: Schafe können sicher weiden (aka Sheep may safely
solo song: arr. Paul Ayres - Poor Fish (Robin Bailey)
Charles Stanford - The Blue bird
Pierre Passereau - Il est bel et bon
traditional, arr. Darryl Runswick - The Frog and the Crow
traditional - The Three Ravens (English folksong)
John Tavener - The Lamb (William Blake)
Benjamin Britten - Rejoice in the Lamb (Christopher Smart)

I ran an expert search in Musica using this criteria (children, SA,animals,
English) and came up with some fun looking stuff i.e. Jean Berger's "A
Child's Book of Beasts."

Freida Holober
by Steven Stucky

charles bruffy
kansas city chorale
phoenix bach choir

Check out "Benedicite" by Andrew Carter. Written for SATB and children's
choir with keyboard or orchestra accompaniment. Several pieces talk about
animals. Also, the three children's choir pieces are published separately
under the title "Bless the Lord." Great fun for everybody! Oxford is the
Brian C. Clissold, Music Director Battle Creek Girls' Chorus Battle Creek
Community Chorus abclissold(a)
........a long list about insects on, hit search, then type in
insects. Here's what I did on "Birds, Beasts and Bugs" two years ago, with
additional choices below.
University at Albany Chamber Singers "Birds, Beasts and Bugs!"
PROGRAM Madrigals
Sweet Suffolk Owl (1619) Thomas Vautor (c. 1590-?)
The Silver Swan (1612) Orlando Gibbons (1583-1625)
Der Gutzgauch auf dem Zaune saß (c. 1539) Lorenz Lemlin (c. 1496-1549)
Part Songs from Six Chansons Paul Hindemith (1895-1963) La Biche (The Doe)
Un Cygne (The Swan)
Lerchengesang (Song of the Lark), op. 48 #4 Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Contrasts (1999) Robert H. Young (b. 1923) (GEntry)
For Sweet Things Dying A Birthday The "Sacred Beast"
The Lamb (1981) Robert Boyd
The Falcon (1956) John Gerrish
Little Innocent Lamb Spiritual, arr. Marshall Bartholomew
Folk Songs The Cuckoo American, arr. Robert Heninger (Santa Barbara Music)
Three Ravens English, arr. Thomas Ravenscroft (c. 1582-1635
Sohran Bushi (Fisherman's Work Song) Japanese, arr. Osamu Shimizu
El Perequito Venezuela, arr. Modesto Bor
Hold My Mule While I Dance Josey Spiritual, arr. Jester Hairston
Humorous Beasts Chameleon Wedding (from And Sparrows Everywhere) Libby Larsen
(ECS) (and looks at the others in "And Sparrows Everywhere")
Mosquitos (from Due North) Stephen Chatman from Lullabies and Nightsongs
(1965) Alec Wilder, arr.
Land The Elephant Present The Answer

White Horses Gwyneth Walker (ECS)
Water Night Eric Whitacre
The Lamb - many settings: Tavener, Earl George, Ken Neufeld, etc
El Grillo - Josquin
Bugs - Pinkham
Paul and His Chickens/Palpa Haugen - Ellingboe - Kjos
Audite Nove - Lassus
The Cricket's Widow (from Madrigals from the Japanese) - Robert Baksa
Listen to the Lambs (psiritual) - Dett - GSC
The Serpent - Jeffers - Earthsongs\BArnyard Cogitations (rounds on Ogden
Nash) - Quincy Porter
I am The Phoenix - Vecchi (Io son fenice)
Anschiedslied der Zurvogel - Mendelssohn, op. 63 -NMP
And the White Rose is a dove - Williametta Spencer - NMP
Departmental (ants) - Robert Ross
Metaphor (The Fly, The Flea, the Spider) - Caltabiano - presser
Who will remember - David York - earthsongs
A cuckoo flew out of the woods - Bisbee - SBMP
Crazy cantata (3 blind mice) - Robert Russell Bennett - Chappell
A Musical Menagerie - Hageman - Presser
Frogs - Dinerstein - C Fischer (six pieces)
Voyagers (butteflies) - J Adams - Alliance
Whippoorwill - Bales - Alliance
Due North - Chatman - ECS (5 pieces, includingWoodpecker, MOsquitoes, Varied
I Know a Bird - Diemer - SBMP
The Reluctant Dragon - Rutter
Butterflies - Palmgren (Walton?)
It was a time - Dowland
The Lowest Trees have tops - Dowland
The Brave fly - Gesualdo
El Gavilan - Carrillo
Yaravi: danza del norte - Donaire
El Alcatraz - Luis Craff
Listen to the Mockingbird - Kubik
The Turtle Dove - Vaughan Williams
The Bluebird - Stanford
Nachtigall - Mendelssohn
Lerchengesang - Mendelssohn
The Hedgehog - Poulenc
The Cuckoo - Tchaikovsky (Ne Cuckoosche - folk songs)
Chants des Oyseaux - Jannequin
Black Sheep - Rutter
Contrapunto bestiale - Banchieri
Sweet Suffolk Owl - Vautor
Il bianco e dolce cigno - arcadelt
El Perequito - Modesto Bor - Third Planet Music
Noiseless Spider - Clausen
All Creatures Now - Bennett
the Fauns and Satyrs (Triumphs of Oriana)
Come, Blessed Bird (Triumphs of Oriana)
Dainty Fine Bird - Gibbons
Salovushko - Tchaikovsky
of Crows and Clusters - Dello Joio
Der Falke - Brahms
Lone Dog - Britten

David Griggs-Janower

I have a set of 4 unpublished "Creaturesongs" for SSA+. Interested?
Bob Jordahl
De Animals A'Comin', a spiritual arranged for Men's voices by Marshall
Bartholemew is wonderful.
Barbara Wagner, Minister of Music, Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo
A wonderful work by Andrew Carter...Benedicte #4 in the work is Badgers and
Hedgehogs #7 is Butterfliew and Moths
Donna Otto Artistic Director Coastal Sound Music Academy
Andrew Carter - Bless the Lord - Oxford U166. four unison songs from his
"Benedicite" and one for U/SATB.
Lynn: The Ladybug and her friends. Suite of short pieces. Legacy Music
Publishers, 1370 Holly Drive West, Broomfield, CO 80020. legacymusic1370(a)>
Keith Reas, Alexandria Choral Soceity, VA
Do you plan to extend the "animals" concept to include bugs? Here are some
El Grillo (Josquin des Prez)
The Bee (Frank Bridge)
The Three Ravens (arr. Edward Chapman)
Of Crows and Clusters (Dello Joio)
Childhood Fables for Grown-ups (Irving Fine, not choral, for soloist)
2. Tigeroo 4. The Frog and the Snake
Duetto Buffo Di Due Gatti--Comic Duet for Two Cats (Gioacchino Rossini)
This could be for any two voices (soli to inclusion of the children's choir)
A Dog Known As Ego (Lars-Erik Larsson)
Contrappunto bestiale alla mente--The Animals Improvise Counterpoint
Miniatures from a Bestiary--Part II (Ron Nelson)
Hakuna Matata (from the Lion King)
Old Horatius Had a Farm--spoof piece on Old MacDonald (Z. Randall Stroope)
Ngana--Australian piece about a shark and fish (Stephen Leek)
Mata Del Anima Sola--Venezuelan piece that includes a mare (Antonio Estévez)
Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf (arr. Norman Luboff)

Ralph Hughes Sacramento Master Singers
I have a really fun, "jazzy" piece (originally written for children's choir,
but it could certainly be performed by women's voices) entitled "The
Dinosaurs' Tale" for Treble Voices, Flute, Double Bass and Piano 4-hands; -
Duration: 3 minutes. It is available from my publisher, Schaffner Music....
Schaffner Music Sole Agent: Schaffner Publishing Co. Box 1162 Merchantville,
NJ 08109-0162 TEL: (856) 854-3760 FAX: (856) 854-5584 E-Mail:
102057.3355(a) Allen Bonde Mount Holyoke College
The Kings Singers have published a charming arrangement of The Owl and the
Pussycat. Counterpoint of the animals - Banchieri and Elliot Levines
Cantata of the animals. Gordon King Verona, NJ
There is a set of Prayers from the Ark published by Boosey & Hawkes. I don't
recall the composer. It is a set SATB of humorous prayers of the bugs and
animals on the ark. Prayer of the Cat features a Baroque style fugal section.
Very well done, cerebral humor appreciated by adult and old student
audiences. David Nordli
One of the Chester Books of Madrigals is entitled "The Animal Kingdom". There
is also a pair (?) of suites by Jean Berger (Belwin; old publication) on
Ogden Nash poems about animals (some of the same ones that sometimes find
their way into performances of the Saint-Saens). I have written two pieces
for SATB with children's choir: *Images of Christmas* (Thomas House/Presser)
2-pt children, SATB, hp/pno and/or organ. *Bring Many Names* (Text by Brian
Wren) SATB, unis. children, org. Unpublished but engraved and available from
yours truly.

Robert Ross, Artistic Director Voces Novae et Antiquae Philadelphia, PA
Have you looked at the "Prayers from the Ark" by Ivor Davies? They're very
charming, a cappella pieces for SATB (there may be some divisi -- it's been a
while). I think Boosey & Hawkes publishes them. There's also Jean Berger's
"Child's Book of Beasts" for SA (there are two sets of songs), which are
settings of Hillaire Belloc poems.

Ann Foster FosterMuse(a)

A DOG WALKS -ssa and piano and
these two pieces are from my 3 JAPANESE LYRICS published by Boosey and
Charming poetry is by Michio Mado and translated into English by the
Empress Michiko of Japan.

Wayland Rogers
Consider "Frog Song" at I guess a
frog qualifies as an animal, yes?

Brad Nelson, Composer
Another animal piece: Five canzonets by Jean Berger published by A. Broude.

These are humorous pieces.

Gordon King
Verona, NJ
I don't know if you're interested in a large work, but "The Web of Life"by
John Biggs is for SATB, children's chorus, narrator, & small chamber
orchestra - 50 min. It's listed at Let us know if
you'd like to see/hear the music.

Paul Mark
Try The Biblical Book of Beasts by Daniel Pinkham.

Meredith Monk's Panda Chant II, (Boosey & HAwkes)
Jean Absil's Le Bestiare

We have several songs about animals contained in printed music in three
songbook collections for elementary school classrooms or unison treble
choirs. Composer is Canadian, Donna Rhodenizer. We may be contacted directly
for orders via web site or by email
donna(a) Animal songs are as follows:
I Need a Home for my Dinosaur (title of book)
Ed the Invisible Dragon
Cool Bob (rap about a cool cat)
The Computer Cat (book title)
Songs: The Computer Cat
Forty Little Birdies
Penguin Ball
Pondering Penguins
I Wonder (..if a penguin has closets full of clothes...)
Penguin Parade
My Hamster
Now is the Time(book)
Song: Dust Bunny Rag I hope this is helpful to your search for animal songs
in printed music
Andy Duinker
Red Castle Publishing
There is a wonderful CD put out by the excellent choral group Spirit that was
a benefit for the Sedgwick County Zoo and is a wealth of information plus
some good arrangements. You can purchase it through the zoo sight or by
calling Sherri Pilgreen at 316-682-3969.
Doris Prater
Wichita, KS

Cynthia Powell, Artistic Director
The Stonewall Chorale, NYC
Christ Episcopal Church
105 Cottage Pl.
Ridgewood, NJ 07450

on October 13, 2004 10:00pm
How about Benjamin Britten's "Noye's Fludde?"

Susan M. Duprey
Director of Choral Activities
Hawaii Pacific University
1164 Bishop St. Ste. 202
Honolulu, Hi 96813
on April 28, 2006 10:00pm
THE CAT THAT BOOGIED! (SSA/optional piano) is an old American canonic folksong "Pretty Kitty" was the original name of the song. The new title was a result of making the ditty a "shtick" for treble voices.
on September 19, 2007 10:00pm
"The Fly"
recent composition (a cappella/SATB) on a poem by William Blake
on May 5, 2013 1:04pm

This is a program for a younger group of kids. It is made up of unison and two part pieces. 


Sansa Kroma                            arr. Michael Scott

(The Hawk)

The Owls                                 Peter Jenkyns

Animal Verses                           Marion Verhaalen

All the Pretty Little Horses           Andy Beck

Marienwurmchen                       Johannes Brahms edited by Mary Goetze

(The Ladybug)

The Bull frog                             Lon Beery

Butterfly                                   Andy Beck

I Bought Me a Cat                      arr. Aaron Copland

on May 5, 2014 8:55pm
I've created a program for elementary school students called, "My Animal Friends"
The duration is a little over 25 minutes and is made up of 2 part pieces.
Third Grade Chorus
A Dog Named Boots                              Earlene Rentz (b.1956)
Monkeys in the House                         Cyndee Giebler (b.1958)
I Bought Me a Cat                                         American Folk Song
                                                      arr. Sally Albrecht (b.1954)
Third and Fourth Grade Combined Chorus
Talk to the Animals                       arr. Patsy Ford Simms (b. 19..)
Fourth Grade Chorus
Dance with the Elephants                        Joan C. Varner (b. 1933)
The Crawdad Song                                          Traditional folk song
   arr. Cristi Cary Miller  (b. 19..)
The Tailor and the Mouse                                             English Folk Song
              arr. Dave and Jean Perry
Little Bird                                     Traditional American Folk Song 
                                                  arr. Vicki Tucker Courtney (b.1954)
Fifth Grade Chorus
Tiger Tiger!                                         Mary Lynn Lightfoot (b. 1952)
The Lion King (medley)                                 Arr. Mac Huff
All Sing
Sing a Song for Nature                                 Mark Burrows (b.1971)                     
                                                                arr. Ruth Elaine Schram 
on December 3, 2014 5:45am
I have set Lewis Carroll's darkly humorous poem, The Walrus and the Carpenter, for SATB and a very accomplished pianist. The piece extends to almost 13:00 and 
might be thought of as a mini-cantata. Complimentary packets of Kleenex for the audience are recommended. 
Also humorous in tone, The Blind Men and the Elephant by John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887) SATB 3:00. 
****************** and serious:
To a Waterfowl by William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878) SATB 4:30, not difficult.
The Windhover by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) TTBB & organ 5:10, difficult for both voices and organ 
on May 2, 2015 6:01pm
I created a program for elementary/beginning choirs. I named the concert program, "Animal Imagination". The program is made up of two part and unison pieces.
                                   The Bull Frog                                                                                      Lon Beery (b. 1959)
Marienwurmchen                                                                               Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)
                                                                                                          arr. Mary Goetze (b. 1951)
Sansa Kroma                                                                                      Cristi Cary Miller (b. 1960)
Galop                                                                                                  Ken Berg (b. 1955)
The Bird’s Counting Song                                                                   Cristi Cary Miller (b. 1960)
If I Could Fly                                                                                       Bill Worrell (b. unknown)
                                               arr. David L. Brunner (b. 1953)                                                                   
                                   The Crocodile                                                                                      Ruth Morris Gray (b.1962)
The Little Birch Tree                                                                           Mary Goetze (b. 1951)
                                    Animal Imagination                                                                            Tom Shelton (b. 1958)
   The Bull Frog 
  • Composer: Lon Beery (b. 1959)
  • Voices/Instrumentation: SA, piano
  • Publisher: BriLee Music Publishing, 2008
  • Duration: 2:00
  • Key: D-flat major, D major, E-flat major
  • Meter: 2/2
  • Tempo and style: Half note equals 85 beats per minute; humorous, light, style ​​
Marienwurmchen (Ladybug)                                                             
  • Composer/Arranger: Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)  arr. Mary Goetze (b. 1951)
  • Voices/Instrumentation: unison; 1 part. Piano
  • Publisher: Boosey and Hawkes; 1989
  • Duration: 1:45
  • Key: D major
  • Meter: Common time, 4/4
  • Tempo and style: Quarter equals 100 beats per minute; Andante, flowing and free.
Sansa Kroma
  • Composer: Cristi Cary Miller (b. 1960)
  • Voicing/Instrumentation: 3 parts (equal ranges); Piano, shekere, Djembe
  • Publisher: Hal Leonard; 2011
  • Duration: 3:00
  • Key: C major
  • Meter: Common time, 4/4
  • Tempo and style: Quarter equals 108 beats per minute; rhythmic, up-beat style
  • Composer: Ken Berg (b. 1955)
  • Voices/Instrumentation: Two part. Piano
  • Publisher: Pavane Publishing, 2007
  • Duration: 2:30
  • Key: F major, C major
  • Meter: 2/4
  • Tempo and style: Quarter equals 140; Allegro, playfull style
The Bird’s Courting Song
-Composer: Cristi Cary Miller (b. 1960)
-Voices/Instrumentation: SA, descant, violin, piano
- Publisher: Hal Leonard Corporation; 2011
-Duration: 2:30
-Key: F minor
-Meter: Cut time
-Tempo and style: half note equals 86 beats per minute; Crisp, moving style
If I Could Fly                                       
  • Composer: Bill Worrell (b. unknown) arr. David L. Brunner (b. 1953)
  • Voices/Instruments: S1, SII, A, piano
  • Publisher: Boosey and Hawkes; 2013
  • Duration: 3:00
  • Key: C major
  • Meter: Common time, 4/4
  • Tempo and style: Quarter equals 84 beats per minte; flowing, legato style
The Crocodile
  • Composer: Ruth Morris Gray (b. 1962)
  • Voices/Instrumentation: 2 parts, piano
  • Publisher: Alfred Music; 2012
  • Duration: 2:30
  • Key: D minor
  • Meter: Common time, 4/4
  • Tempo and style: Quarter equals 120 beats per minute; playful style
The Little Birch Tree  
  • Composer: Mary Goetze (b. 1951)
  • Voicing/Instrumentation: unison; 1 part. piano accompaniment
  • Publisher: Boosey and Hawkes; 1984
  • Duration: 1:30
  • Key: G major and E minor
  • Time Signature: 2/4
  • Tempo and style: Quarter equals 60 beats per minute; flowing, legato style
Animal Imagination               
  • Composer: Tom Shelton (b. 1958)
  • Voices/Instrumentation: Unison, 1 part; piano
  • Publisher: Hinshaw Music; 2015
  • Duration: 3:00
  • Key: D minor
  • Meter: Common time, 6/4
  • Tempo and style: Quarter equals 120 beats per minute; adventorous, energetic style
I chose to create a concert program for an elementary school choir. I thought that it would be helpful since my goal is to be an elementary school music teacher.  I spent the most time trying to figure out which songs not only fit the theme (animals), but also contained vocal techniques and musical concepts. My next challenge was creating the order of the pieces I picked that would make the most sense. Each piece gives different musical concept opportunities to the ensemble, but are still appropriate for elementary school singers.
The Bull Frog by Lon Beery (b. 1959) is a perfect piece to start a concert with. I chose starting the concert with this piece because it is a light, giddy song and I think it is important to start a concert out with something up-beat and light. This piece is also good to start with because it immediately introduces the animal theme with the title, The Bull Frog. The piece also starts off with the choir singing in unison and then divides. Vocal Techniques: This piece switches keys three times, so it is a good experience for the singers to learn how to listen and recognize what they hear in the piano. This involves a lot of practicing, especially with young singers. Being independent on individual parts when there is a split is also a skill that students need to have while singing this piece. The most important vocal technique in this piece is leaps. There are many upward and downward P4 leaps. This can be a struggle with a younger choir, but reptition and warm ups that contain leaps will make this proccess quicker.
Marienwurmchen (Ladybug) composed by Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) and arranged by Mary Goetze (b. 1951) is a piece that flows throughout, and in unison. I was questioning having any unison pieces within the program, but I think singing in unison is important with younger ensembles. It sounds great, and I think it brings the choir together as a whole. I chose this to go second because it is different than the previous piece with the part split, and introduces a different concept, singing a legato line. Vocal techniques: the biggest vocal technique challenge for this piece is singing in German (diction). I also think singing in unison is important while singing in a different language because it is easier to for the singers to hear other ensemble members and make changes if they are struggling with something involving diction. Another vocal technique is singing a legato line while phrasing the line.
Sansa Kroma composed by Cristi Cary Miller (b. 1960) is an Africans playground song from the country of Ghana. Similar to the traditional game “Duck, Duck, Goose,” this piece involves a young chick being chased around by a hawk (“sansa”) but the chick is saved and protected by her friends. The words translate “Sansa, the hawk! You are an orphan, and so you snatch up baby chicks.” I put this piece third because it is a change from the second piece that it is more of a lighter, up-beat piece and splits into two parts rather than being in unison. It also has a different key signature than the second piece. Vocal Techniques: Diction and leaps. There is a guide for the diction on the inside cover of the score which is very helpful for teachers. Going through the piece by speaking the words first is always a good place to start. There are also many leaps including upward P4, downward P5, and octave leaps.
Galop by Ken Kerg (b. 1955) is a great piece for teaching solfege. Galop contains two parts, and moves very quickly as one quarter equals 140 beats per measure. I chose this piece fourth because I think it is challenging and I think it is a good idea for the students to have a few songs under their belt before they sing this one. The piece starts in the key of F major which is also a nice change. I think it is also a good idea to show administration, parents, and any other audience members that the choir is learning solfege. Vocal Techniques: Leaps such as upward P4, downward P5. The biggest vocal technique for this piece is being able to change articulation throughout. There are some sections that require legato singing and others that require notes to be accented and staccato.
The Bird’s Courting Song by Cristi Cary Miller is a beautiful two part piece that includes a descant and violin part along with the piano. This piece starts in F minor but modulates to F-sharp minor. I wanted to separate this piece and Sansa Kroma because they involve the same composer. I also thought the tempo change was appropriate after two up-beat pieces. Vocal Techqniques: Dynamics and legato. Since most of the piece contains flowing, legato lines throughout with no tempo change, I think it is important to really focus on making the lines different from one another with dynamics. There are also many intervals involving accidentals and leaps throughout this piece.
If I Could Fly by Bill Worrell (b. 1960) is another legato, smooth piece but splits into three parts instead of the usual two. I felt that this piece should go here because I felt that the choir should have confidence from singing the other pieces before going into a piece that involves three parts. This piece is in C major, so there is a shift to a major key which I also felt was appropriate. Vocal Techniques: I think the most important technique to work on for this piece is diction. Since there are more than two parts being sung, it could be difficult to pick out the text. This piece is mostly homophonic, but there are a couple of times where there are differences in rhythms. dynamic markings throughout that the singers should understand.
The Crocodile by Ruth Morris Gray (b. 1962) is up-beat, but darker piece. It is in the key of D minor, representing a crocodile. I chose this song to go here in the program because I thought it was a good contrast with the pervious song as it is smooth, and legato, where is this one is just the opposite. This piece also has two parts, but is polyphonic throughout most of the piece which can be a challenge for beginning choirs. Vocal Techniques: dynamics and leaps. There are many dynamic markings during this piece which truly conveys the crocodile sound. For example, there is a measure marked forte, but piano four measures later. The students have to be very attentive. There are also leaps such as an upward and downward perfect fourth, and skips.
The Little Birch Tree by Mary Goetze (b. 1951) is a flowing, legato piece sung in unison. I seperated this piece from Marienwurmchen on purpose, because they are both by the same composer. I also thought it was a nice relief from the previous, minor, “jumping” crocodile piece. I like how this piece is unison because it forms a sense of unity for the whole audience. Vocal Techniques: legato and dynamic changes. It is important that the singers maintain a legato line because it is easy to make the phrases choppy because there are three bar phrases. There is also many changes in dynamics throughout the piece, which is important to focus on since this is a unison piece.
Animal Imagination by Tom Shelton (b. 1951) is also in unison, but it is an up-beat “adventourous” piece. I chose this piece to be the last one of the program because it is titled, “Animal Imagination” which is the name of the concert program, so I thought it was appropriate. I also think it is important to end and leave the audience with an up-beat song.Vocal Techniques: Articulation and dynamics. There are different articulation styles throughout this piece, despite the quicker tempo. In order to convey the correct message this must be taken into consideration. There are also a wide range of dynamics that contribute to the piece.