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Church Choir Spring Program Ideas

Hi,

I'm looking for ideas for a spring program for my church choir. We usually present an Easter cantata the week before or after Easter but this year our program will be in May instead. Do you know of any non-Easter satb cantatas? Or do any of you have ideas for a program with Scripture and song based on a theme? Some general ideas I have but could use help developing are: the stories/parables of Jesus, the Sermon on the Mount, Psalms, hymn stories, hymns of Charles Wesley, etc. This program will take the place of our regular Sunday worship service. We have a small choir and can't handle anything real difficult but prefer satb to sab or 2-part.

I look forward to your ideas.

Thanks.

Bonnie Newton
First Christian Reformed Church
Salt Lake City, Utah

 
on January 6, 2010 7:33am
Bonnie,
 
I am putting on a concert in April. The concert is meant to raise funds for our choral schoarship students. It is going to happen two weeks after Easter and will be on a Sunday afternoon. I chose to do this in lieu of a cantata partly because we just did a Christmas Cantata and I wanted a program of more varied repertory. I am having the entire music ministry partake (handbells, small vocal ensemble, choir, soloists, and guest instrumentalists) in the concert. However, the choir will be the featured group on the program. Our theme this year in 'may the music live on'. There is a wonderful piece, that is not really difficult, by Russell Robinson that has very meaningful words about how music impacts our lives. So I decided to base our program around that. We will include three 'sets' of song for the choir and one set for our small ensemble comprised of only hired music personnel. One on hymns and songs of praise, adoration, and Thanksgiving (our sacred set), one on the American folk song, and one on the African American Spiritual. Our small vocal group will present 3 a cappella songs written for chamber choir (cathedral style).  Although, a large part of our concert will be sacred, I wanted to include some stuff that we wouldn't normally hear on a Sunday morning. And I think taking a journey through these very important times of music allows us to really see how music transforms lives no matter what the circumstances. Hope this helps!
 
Happy New Year!
 
Justin J. West
Director of Music
First Christian Church
Beaumont, TX
on January 6, 2010 10:34am
 Hi Bonnie, 
 
We do a Music Sunday in May to mark the end of our choir/handbell choir season. To plan this I ask the choir and bells to pick their favorite anthems from the past year, then I look for common themes to shape the worship "story" that ties them together. I will often add scripture verses or narration (little sermonettes) to complete the worship experience. If you would like an example of what we've done, please feel free to email me: mccullat(a)gmail.com.
 
Best of luck!
 
Aaron McCullough
St. Luke Lutheran Church
Gahanna, Ohio
on January 6, 2010 11:34am
Hi Bonnie
Last year our church did a concert with a similiar idea as Justin's.  We took the piece, Who Knows Where the Seasons Go, by Larry Nickel, and then did a concert around the different liturgical seasons of the church year.  We too focused mainly on the choir but all musical groups within the church took part.  We started out with Advent songs, then Christmas, etc, with the pastor giving little synopsis of each season as we went along. At the end of each season, the congregation and soloists sang a different verse of  the hymn Soli Deo Gloria by Marty Haugen, and at the end of the concert we all sang the hymn "When in Our Music GOd is Glorified" (Engelberg).  It turned out very well., and everyone thinks we should do something again this year, but I too need a different idea this year. 
Sylvia Duncan
Music Director
Shepherd of the Valley Lutheran
Langley, BC
on January 6, 2010 4:02pm
Hi, Bonnie.  This is just a thought, and possibly not helpful, but what occurs to me is that in liturgical churches, the period between Easter and the beginning of Advent is Pentacost, and it's pretty certain that composers from liturgical churches provided music for that longest of the six seasons of the church year.  Bach comes immediately to mind!
 
And it also occurs to me that the English have a long tradition of observing specific feasts during Pentacost, with their own specific names and traditions, although I'm not up on that particular calendar.  Isn't WhitSunday one of those?  So you might look through the English renaissance literature as well.
 
All the best,
 
John
 
 
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