Styles: Gospel (middle school)
I put out a query asking for favorite spiritual or gospel pieces appropriate
for middle school. This is a compilation of the responses. Thanks for all
the great ideas!!! Here's to a great school year!
Ervin Middle School
Try "We Are One Voice", arr. Paul Oakley, Colla Voce Music, Inc.
; in the gospel style, but non-sectarian text -- perfect
for schools. And the accompaniment is written such that it will sound like
gospel even if your pianist is reading literally off of the page (ie, no
improvisation is necessary to make it sound authentic.) Really fun piece!
Following are several to choose from. Descriptions, audios, and PDF files
are available for many on my website www.lindaspevacek.com. Check boxes 'in
print and out of print' at top and then '2 pt, 3 pt mx, accompanied, a
cappella, spiritual,' in boxes below for details on each.
1. Spiritual Jubilee (new) 2 pt and 3 pt mx Heritage Music Press
2. Rock-A My Soul 2 pt and 3 pt mx Heritage Music Press
3. Climbin' Up The Mountain 2 pt and 3 pt mx Kirkland House
4. Ching A Rind Chaw 2 pt and 3 pt mx Heritage Music Press
(combined with Great Gettin' Up Mornin')
5. Slow Me Down Lord 3 part mx www.lindaspevacek.com
6. Building On A Rock 3 part/SAB Laurel Press
7. Waitin' For The Light To Shine 2 pt and 3 pt mx Hal Leonard
8. Somebody's Knockin' At Your Door 2 pt and 3 pt mx Triune
9. Wayfarin' Stranger 3 pt mx www.choralweb.com
10. The Old Ark's A Moverin' 2 pt and 3 pt mx www.lindaspevacek.com
11. Deep River 3 pt mx Heritage Music Press
12. Shout Glory 3 pt mx www.lindaspevacek.com
13. Soon I Will Be Done 3 pt mx www.lindaspevacek.com
14. I Wanna Shout Amen! 3 pt mx www.lindaspevacek.com
15. Lord, Wait or Me 3 pt mx www.lindaspevacek.com
He Never Failed Me Yet (gospel), Robert Ray, SATB
Rise Up Singing, Kirby Shaw, SATB (prominent solo)
16 Tons, Kirby Shaw, SAB
Yonder Come Day, Judith Cook Tucker, 3 pt (any voicing)
Rock-a My Soul, Hal Hopson, 2 pt
Hand Me Down My Silver Trumpet, Rae Moses, 2 pt
Pick a Bale of Cotton (dance song), Betty Bertaux, 2 pt
Deep River (maybe out-of-print), George Kemmel, 2 pt
Go Tell It on the Mountain, Harry Simeone, 2 pt
This is the Day - pub. by Boosey and Hawkes SSA
Feelin' Good - also Boosey and Hawkes SSA
Praise His Holy Name - Keith Hampton pub. by earthsongs
Joyce Eilers "Power and the glory"
Roger Emerson "Wade in the Water" and "Mary Had a Baby", and anything by
Patsy Ford SImms.
Jesus Loves Me Arr. Joel Ramey, for SATB, unison choir or soloist with
optional rhythm parts (we did this as a "mass choir" closer to our Fall
Festival gradeds 4-12, but my middle schoolers sang it again: 7-8 grades did
the SATB part and 6th grade took the unison treble part, so don't let the
scare you.) Hope Publishing C 5078
Let My People Go (Go Down Moses) Arr. Roger Emerson 3-pt mixed (also
for 2-pt) Hal Leonard 08551423 - nice part featuring the guys, altos won't
Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen Arr David Cherwien, for 2-pt choir, piano
clarinet. Evangel Press #3013 My band director colleague brought this to
attention and played the clarinet solo on it with my sixth graders.
Shine On Me Arr. Rollo Dilworth for SAB, Hal Leonard 08551557 We did this
the season closer for combined middle school choirs. A quick learn.
We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder Arr. Lloyd Larson 2 pt (opt. 3-pt) Hal
distributes for John Rich Music Press #JR0041 We adapted this for the
had them take the melody (Part I) at m. 23 while the sopranos took Pt II and
the altos sang Pt III until m. 42, when the baritones moved to part II and
sopranos went back to the top line.
Sit Down Servant Arr. Linda Twine SATB with keyboard. Hinshaw Music HMC
This one's a challenge to learn, but hot! Lynn Gackle used it for ACDA
Choir a couple of years ago, and my choir was determined to prove they could
do anything an honor choir could do!
Praise His Holy Name by Keith Hampton, SATB/piano, earthsongs (Anton
Armstrong's series). This has become a classic, and EVERY CHOIR should sing
Great season closer. The men's part is well within middle school ranges.
Can I Ride? arr. Kirby Shaw 3- pt mixed (also available 2-pt) Hal Leonard
08621031 Very accessible, includes call & response between men & women,
upbeat driving rhythm.
Let It Shine! Price/Besig 2-part Shawnee Press EA-173 - Did this with 6-7
Good intro to spirituals for this age group.
He Never Failed Me Yet, Robert Ray SATB, Hal Leonard 44708014 Another
bring-the-house-down closer. Greg LeSan did this with our sophomore
one year in North Kansas City, and I've used it with middle school and high
school (and one of my voice students even conducted it on her senior recital
with college kids!) with equal success. Do the solo lines with small
introduce kids to improvisatory singing, teach the shout step, and try this:
start SLOWer than the metronome marking given (try 72 instead of 104), but
kick the tempo up to 104 at the coda, then take the last two measures with
molto ritard and fermatas as marked so the soloists can wail over the chords
at the end.
Two by Rollo Dilworth:
Hal Leonard 08551344
in a variety of voicings
Shine On Me
Hal Leonard 08551556
also in a variety of voicings.
City Called Heaven
arranged by Josephine Poelinitz
Colla Voce Music HL-105
SATB, but this arrangement can be adapted to any voicing).
I teach 4th-12th grade chorus in my district. My middle school kids'
favorite spirtitual is "Let My People Go" by Roger Emerson. It is
available in 2 or 3 part.....we did it in 2."Joshua Fit the Battle" by
Kirby Shaw is another winner. It is availble to SSA OR 3 part. Elijah
Rock by Roger Emerson, Witness by Roger Emerson .....3 part, Wade in
the Water, by Roger Emerson. These were all winners with my kids.
Pretty much anything Roger Emerson tends to be good for the middle
schoolers. Good luck!
you can downöoad demo scores (PDF files) by www.compovista.com (see under
"Chöre/Kompositionen-Arrangements" and look at the editions list). What you
need is the Acrobat 4.0 or 5.05 (can be downloaded on my sites). Composer -
Hello! There's a ton of great pieces that meet your needs. My top three
faves are: Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel?, Hush! Somebody's Callin' My Name,
and Ev'ry Time I Feel the Spirit. I'm pretty sure they're all available in 2
and 3 part voicing
Patsy Ford Simms (an African-American composer/arranger) does lots of
spirituals for 3-pt. mixed. I believe she is published by Heritage Press,
but don't quote me on it.
The following pieces by Roger Emerson. Most come come in 3 and 2 part
Soon Ah Will Be Done
Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel
Let My People Go
Hush! Somebody's Calling My Name - SAB - Brazeal Dennard
Swing Low - I think by Audrey Snyder- (My kids didn't like it but yours
Gonna Sit Down and Rest A While - (Can't remember the arranger right now; It
might have been Michael Scott?)
For gospels we have used:
I Am the Way-by Steven Roberts
I Will Sing Praises - Richard Smallwood (I haven't done this one but I know
that there's printed music to it
I would also suggest asking some of your trusted students for suggestions
and then calling the store "Christian Book Nook" in KCMO to see if they can
get printed music for it. They are very helpful and can usually tell you if
there's music to it or not.
My kids like Ticket to the Kingdom - Moore.
I really love "Joshua! (Fit the Battle of Jericho)" arranged by Kirby Shaw.
I also love all of Roger Emerson's arrangements
This Little Light Of Mine - 3part mixed - Johnson - Hal Leonard Pub.
This is a sure winner, kids love it, audiences rave.