Good (I mean really good!) music for church children's choir
Date: August 8, 2009
It's taking some getting used to, not addressing everyone with "Dear Listers!"
So I'm into programming music for Fall now at my very large church, and I will be starting our children's choir around this time next month. This is a children's choir that has performed a variety of music, under various directors that have had very different ideas about what a church children's choir should sing. I have my own ideas, but being inexperienced in the world of sacred music for children, would appreciate some repertiore suggestions.
I'm trying to satisfy as many of the following criteria as I can:
- Should be accessible to children between the ages of 9 and 13. Some of you will have different opinions on what that ability is, but I've gotten 13-year-olds to sing adult-level repertiore in the past. Big jumps and large amounts of dissonance might not be the best stuff to start with.
- Is not - I repeat, NOT - show-choir kitschy. I'm not anti-fun, but my experience is that the cutsey stuff becomes a turn off for the older kids, and the younger ones will take their cues off the older ones regarding their attitudes. I want something that has a level of maturity to it, and will give them the satisfaction of accomplishment.
- Energetic music is fine, and in fact preferable, but again, keeping the kitsch in check.
- Anything from unison to 3-part. I suspect I'm going to have to start from scratch in teaching good multi-part singing.
- Sacred texts, obviously, with English and Latin getting first pick, but feel free to suggest any language.
What I've witnessed in the past is that the kids have performed under the previous director, and the response has been, "Oh look, they're so cute, they're trying so hard not to sound bad," and the director was apparently okay with this (or clueless). That's not going to happen under my watch; I want to show these folks what kids are really capable of.
Many thanks for your thoughtful replies as always.
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