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10-15 minute piece for advanced SSAA group

I have a wonderful ladies' vocal ensemble of 14 members.  Six of these will graduate this spring, and I want to feature the group somewhat in our spring gala.  I am interested in a piece 10-15 minutes in length that will not only challenge and showcase these lovely voices, but that will be an audience-pleaser as well.  We have an orchestra, so I have access to all types of instrumental accompaniment. 
Replies (11): Threaded | Chronological
on January 4, 2010 2:55pm
 Where Life is Written in Water by Gary Fry.  Wonderful piece commissioned by Colorado Children's Chorus. We performed it a year ago. Can be done with a chamber orchestra. contact Gary directly, as it is in manuscript. Don't know if only 14 women could cover it all, but it is a really great piece!
on January 4, 2010 3:06pm
Hi Laura,
I am a composer of many choral works.  I have composed a 14 minute SSAA choral piece called "A Child of God".  I do not know if you are looking for sacred music.  This piece has three sections done with percussion and the last section has two pianos accompanying.  The percussion parts are stunning.  I worked with one of the percussionists from the Minnesota Orchestra in writing this work.  I would be more than willing to send you a complimentary copy of this work if you would like to review it.
Denice Rippentrop
on January 4, 2010 3:24pm
 Here's a related ChoralNet resource.
on January 5, 2010 12:47am
hi Laura
I have a challenging work for SSAA titled "Lux Lucis" -- it's in 3 movements, about 10 minutes duration, on texts by Hildegard von Bingen . I wrote it for the small women's ensemble of Seattle Pro Musica, which had about 17 members at the time. It worked very well for that size ensemble and was a real audience-pleaser.
You can hear a couple of the movements on the Seattle Pro Musica website, on the CD page:
I would be happy to send a perusal copy if you like.
all best,
Karen Thomas, Artistic Director
Seattle Pro Musica
on January 9, 2010 8:25am
 Hi Karen, beautiful motets, thanks for posting the link!
My choir has a couple of competitions coming up (BBC Choir of The Year and the Cheltenham (UK) Festival) and these would be great for the ladies (they won their category at the Jersey Festival last year, us men could only manage second ;) ) I've recommended O lucissima especially to our MD.
on January 5, 2010 5:57am
Only about 5 minutes - but maybe you'd like to listen anyway, also if 6 of your ladies are leaving this might fit exactly the 8 left. 8 SSAA + one cello:
on January 5, 2010 7:20am
Hi, Laura -
You might be interested in my Magnificat for women's voices (SSAA) and harp. It was recently premiered by the professional group In Mulieribus from Portland, OR, and was very well received. It will be posted soon on YouTube - you can listen to it there. If you want scores, visit Troparion(a)
 Best wishes,
Richard Toensing
on January 5, 2010 9:23am

One suggestion would be the piece below - Grandma's Alleluia by Zae Munn. Another suggestion might be selected movements from Gwyneth Walker's Lessons from the Sea.

--Shelbie Wahl


Grandma's Alleluia, by Zae Munn.

Texts by Ann Kilkelly.

Written in 1989. Published by earthsongs (S-17).

SSA, unaccompanied.

English texts.


~ 10 minutes.


S1 [D4-G5]
S2 [D4-G5]
A [B3-D5]


  • The setting: "Despite family resistance, Grandma embarks on a train trip from St. Paul to Montana to
    visit her cousin Marge. She is lulled by the repetitive sounds of the train into memories and dreams of her
    past. As she remembers she rejoices in her life." [from the score]
  • Each section of the story is marked by a different header. Such headings, in order, are: "The Train," "Baking," "Sewing," "Fishing," back to "The Train," and finally, "Alleluia."
  • Each section of the song/story has an associated ostinato. For example, the text "the train" is repeated over and over in the Train section. "Kneading, punching, rising, punching" is repeated in the Baking section. The Sewing section mantra is "sewing, sewing, turning, sewing." These ostinati keep a constant pulse throughout the work, giving the impression of a moving train.
  • Numerous and frequent changes of meter, including 2/4, 3/4, 4/4, 5/4, 5/16, 6/16, 3/8, 2/2, and 3/2.
  • Dynamics change often, and to varying extremes.
  • Rhythmic patterns are not intrinsically difficult, except perhaps for frequent ties over the barline in some voice parts. However, the shifting meter may complicate initial rhythmic comprehension.
  • Only rare moments of homophonic texture. Otherwise mostly imitative and non-imitative polyphony. Heavy independence of voice parts. Frequent voice-crossing.
  • Harmonic framework centers around tonic of D, though tonality changes throughout the work.

[Content from:

Wahl, Shelbie, "Choral Works for Women's Voices, Composed and Texted by Women, With an Annotated Repertoire List." DA diss., Ball State University, 2009.]

on January 5, 2010 2:26pm
Dear Laura,
if you would tell me your e-mail address, I am ready to send you for examining something else, you are looking for.
Best wishes!
Jiri Laburda.
on January 19, 2010 7:35am
Holst's Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda (Group III) are for SSAA with harp accompaniment. They are stunning and deserve to be better known.
on February 2, 2010 3:50am
Hi Laura,
maybe you'll find some music on my homepage
I've done quite a number of SSAA pieces for my sister's excellent female choir CANTILENA. (last one was LUDIMUS)
Make a joyful noise
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