Advertise on ChoralNet 
ChoralNet logo
The mission of the ACDA is to inspire excellence in choral music through education, performance, composition, and advocacy.

Christmas - "major" work for TTBB voices

Thinking ahead to Christmas (already - sigh...)...
I direct a men's community chorus of about 65 men.  We do an annual Christmas concert and I've been trying to program one major-ish work to anchor the program.  I usually can hire 5-6 professional instrumentalists as well.  In the past few years we've done Pinkham's "Christmas Cantata" (brass quintet), Rutter's "Dancing Day" (harp and soloist), Susa's "Carols and Lullabies" (harp, marimba, guitar).  These have been sort of the "anchor" pieces of the program and then the rest has been a mix of old and new, familiar and unfamiliar pieces as well as audience sing-alongs, etc.  I've also usually done some orchestrating of other pieces to make good use of the instrumentalists. 
I've basically run out of ideas at this point.  The men in my chorus are on the older side and they don't learn very quickly, so the level of difficulty has to be easy to moderate (the Pinkham was a challenge for them).  I'm hoping perhaps we can share some past Christmas program choices.  Unfortunately, it seems like many of the pieces I find were originally written for SATB voices, and the TTBB arrangements of them aren't always the best.  I'm even open to commissioning someone to compose and/or arrange a piece or set of pieces.  It would be nice to have a major-ish Christmas choral work that was originally conceived for men's chorus. 
Thanks for any suggestions you may have!

Mike Driscoll
Director, Boston Saengerfest Men's Chorus
on May 2, 2011 9:16am
A couple of Recommendations: 
Personent Hodie, arr. Lara Hoggard (it's not too long, but is a great piece for men)
Gloria, Randol Alan Bass 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 2, 2011 9:39am
Hi Mike,
Have you looked at Susa's Christmas Garland? It's a suite of mostly familiar carols that last about 12 minutes. I'm not sure what the instrumentation is, but Susa typically offers several options for accompaniments.
on March 10, 2014 11:38am
Colla Voce Music publishes James Adler's "Carols of Splendor" for TTBB.  Click HERE to view the score in its entirety and to listen to an audio sample.
on March 11, 2014 7:44am
I recently posted an article about the 1914 Christmas Truce of World War I that I helped create during my time with Cantus. Here's a link to that post. I'm wondering about the difficulty level of the piece for your group, but it's definitely a concert length work.

As for your other idea, creating something new, I've been looking to write a larger Christmas work in the last few years, maybe this would be a good fit? Let me know if you want to chat more about it.

Timothy C. Takach, Composer
on April 13, 2014 6:34am
One of my all-time favorite works for Men's Chorus at the holiday is Randol Alan Bass' "Gloria".  It is wonderful but may be a bit difficult for your group.  I conduct the Cncinnati Men's Chorus and they had no problems learning and memorizing the work.  Best, Casey
  • You must log in or register to be able to reply to this message.