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Where do you buy your choral music?

With so many music stores going out of business, I'd be interested to know where you buy your music for your choir and how you choose it.  Do you look on line?  Do you listen to CD's?  Do you have a subscription service?  and from whom do you buy your church music?
 
I'd be interested in your feedback!
 
Replies (24): Threaded | Chronological
on May 1, 2012 4:36am
I get a lot of my music from cpdl.org and imslp.com for free!

I order much of my music from Cliff Hill Music.

Graphitepublishing.com has some wonderful new music for $1/copy.

For church music, I find Choristers Guild to be wonderful. They include audio links of almost all their pieces. Morningstar's site is also good and the search options are good and many pieces have audio links. Augsburg Fortress has good music but the search options are limited.

I have found reading sessions at Choristers Guild and the Conference on Theology, Worship, and Arts at St. Olaf to be very beneficial.

If I'm looking for music from the Renaissance - Classical eras, I listen to that music on pandora then see if it's on cpdl. Could someone from ACDA please please please do a reading session at a national or eastern division convention with music from the Renaissance and Baroque that is accessible for adult church choirs? Please?

on May 1, 2012 6:28am
Can I second that request from Austen?  Sure there's a lot of good new music coming out but as a still-young and inexperienced conductor I need more exposure to the time-tested standards...
on May 2, 2012 5:14am
Can I third the request?  I've found a few pieces in my choir's filing cabinet that I've used, but I would love to do more!  I like the idea of cpdl but I feel a bit overwhelmed by the enormity of the options, and I think a reading session would help.
 
When I'm looking for specific pieces I generally go to sheetmusicplus.com, and then check the publisher's website.  Sometimes I find a better deal on the publisher's website, sometimes on sheetmusicplus. 
on May 1, 2012 5:14am
Hi Estelle,
 
As far as where to find new music, check out my recent (March 2012) CJ article about doing music research on line.
 
There are many good music stores left around the country, and in addition to Musical Resources mentioned above, The Musical Source (www.musicalsource.com) is the other store in the US that specializes in dealing in choral and vocal music exclusively. Both retailers are also big supporters and members of ACDA. Musical Source gives up to 20% to schools churches and organizations year round as well, something that the large retailers like JW Pepper does not.
 
For church music, I like the subscriptions from the main publishers (GIA, Augsburg, Morningstar, and others) depending on what type of music your church does.
 
I also do find some things on CPDL and IMSLP, but I also have found that I spend more money copying the pieces at 10 cents a page than if I had purchased it at the store.
 
There are many local stores in different areas that still sell sheet music and still work wtih the local customers to make their music available - and we need to keep supporting the local stores. There is one store in the entire northeast that sells just sheet music. One. Even though it is quite easy to pop online and order from the sheet music "big box" online stores, it is our local music stores that are providing our reading packets, providing our sponsorships for ACDA conferences, and supporting our organization - so let's turn around and support them back!
 
CJ Redden-Liotta
 
on May 1, 2012 5:16am
RIght here on ChoralNet.  My choirs are perofrming 5 pieces I found through the Composition Showcase: http://www.choralnet.org/view/306612
 
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 1, 2012 5:32am
As for me, my two main sources of church music are GIA Publications and Oregon Catholic Press.  They have a subscription service for about $40-45/annum, and you get roughly three times that value's worth of music, spread out over three "issues" a year, along with a listening CD for all the music included.  Choral Public Domain Library is another source, though not used quite as heavily as I would ideally like to, just because of the inherent limitations of my choirs.  (I need to check out the imslp.com site myself - thanks for the info, Austen!)  For children's choir music, I found that Choristers Guild was quite good, but GIA and OCP also do well.
 
I can only double Austen's request to ACDA for Renaissance and Baroque music accessible for adult choirs.  This is an area which is just too little explored for the "average" church choir.
 
Ron
on May 1, 2012 6:11am
A good site for ordering choral music is sheetmusicplus.com. I often find there what I don't find elsewhere. The advantages here are a small discounted price on each anthem and a small mailing price. The disadvantages are that you must order a minimum of six copies per title and, since they are a distributor, it can take a month to receive an order. If you can order way ahead of the time you need the work(s), they are very cost effective.
 
 
on May 1, 2012 8:09am
The Independent Music Publishers Cooperative (a.k.a. "Imp") is a group of 8 award-winning, frequently commissioned composers who have combined resources to make it easier for conductors to find out about our music.  We are very excited about this new model, and how it responds to exactly the situation you describe in your query.
 
At www.imp.coop you can search the choral catalogs of:
 
Linda Tutas Haugen
J. David Moore
Joan Szymko
Edie Hill
Tim Takach
Abbie Betinis
Jocelyn Hagen
Elizabeth Alexander (that's me!)
 
Our collective website will also direct you to our individual websites, for more detailed information about our music.
 
(This is a new endeavor, so we welcome your comments and feedback on how this effort works to respond to your needs!)
 
Elizabeth Alexander
 
on May 1, 2012 9:01am
Hi Estelle,
 
I hope you will take Jack's advice & make the Composers Marketplace here on ChoralNet your first stop.   http://www.choralnet.org/view/306612
 
Thanks
 
-Rich Campbell
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 1, 2012 9:33am
I would highly recommend Becky Guajardo's website The Choral Place -  http://www.thechoralplace.com; email: thechoralplace(a)juno.com. Her service is exceptional, and she offers excellent discounts on parctically any publisher. Often, she can beat the publishers' "club" prices. In any event, Becky is very personable and wonderful to work with. Give her a try.
Wayne Miller
on May 2, 2012 1:09pm
Notice to all!
The website for The Choral Place shoud be - http://www.thechoralplace.org. My mistake for using ".com." The email address is correct.
My apologies to Becky and all.
Wayne Miller
on May 1, 2012 12:32pm
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on May 2, 2012 7:07am
I think the best environment to find new music is in reading sessions or choral workshops, where one sings through a lot of unfamiliar repertoire together. Actually having the opportunity to sing the music in a makeshift ensemble is more useful than hearing others sing it (in concert or on CD) or perusing the scores on your own.
 
I never purchase any music for my choirs until I have had the chance to see a copy of the score and ascertain it's suitability - so the ability to obtain single copies is important. If I can't get a single copy, I don't program the piece.
(This is going to become a problem though, now that an increasing number of composers are self-publishing and distributing via electronic means - they're understandably reluctant to send out pdf files that might be copied, printed or forwarded without their knowledge.)
 
I am a big fan of Print Musicworks in Melbourne. The high Australian dollar means their prices aren't terribly competitive, but their service is terrific. They're happy to sell me singles, and they're also more than willing to chase up obscure titles from obscure publishers for me - they tell me they look forward to my frequent esoteric requests. They've been very good at supporting Australian composers, most recently hosting a wonderful reading day of Australian choral compositions, at which they showcased not only published composers, but also a number of composers who handle their own sales and distribution (ie composers from whose music they could never expect to make a cent in sales).
 
I agree that JW Pepper has a very helpful website, competitive prices, and a large amount of music available. They will sell singles, unlike Sheetmusicplus. Neither of these major online retailers are willing to help you find anything that is not listed on their website - they both have publishers they simply refuse to deal with. In the case of Sheetmusicplus, they'll even lie and tell you a piece is out of print, when the truth is they simply can't be bothered getting it for you if it means dealing with a publisher they don't like.
on May 4, 2012 7:02am
For the past ten years I have loved Senseney Music based out of Wichita, Kansas.  They are a music retailer whose knowledgeable choral music staff is helpful in finding any odd request that I might have, while also being able to suggest new music I may not already know.  They will send single copies on perusal, and are rarely late with a shipment (twice in 10 years for me).  Cheers, Senseney!
on May 4, 2012 9:46am
Dear All:
        Mine is a decidedly "low-tech" process... I select music either through reading sessions and piles of printed music, suggestions from colleagues, and pieces that I hear in concerts or from recordings.
        I occasionally purchase through online resources. However, I prefer to purchase through the local music stores. In most cases, if I tell them the deal that I could get online, they will either match it or beat. (If they can't, they tell me...)
 
Ron Isaacson
Germantown, MD
on May 4, 2012 10:21am
If you are in Canada, or close to the Canadian border, I suggest Northwest Music in Vancouver.  Great service and very helpful staff that are all choral singers.  They have the largest stock of choral music in western Canada, and order weekly from all the major publishers.
They also have a brand new, very useful website, with a shopping cart.  Check it out at www.northwestmusic.ca.
on December 29, 2012 5:03pm
 Sheet music I have often got from sheetmusicplus.com but some pieces are so rare I had to order from overseas-Belgium or London.  Sadly compact discs are disappearing. I was very sad to see Borders go under. I have probably obtained about 70% of my collection there, the rest coming from Sam Gradys & Coconuts which also had gone under. These days to find good classical music you have to go online. Sometimes Tower Records out of New York carries pieces but many retail outfits have downsized their classical sections. Therefore I have used these record companies:  Naxox, Hyperion, EMI, Decca, Philips, Deutsche-Grammophone, CD Universe.
on December 30, 2012 9:48am
Sheetmusicplus.com and jwpepper.com get most of my orders.  The teachers discount at sheetmusicplus.com helps and discounts on multiple copies in addition adds up to an advantage, also!  Servece at jwpepper.com has also been quite good. thogh not much in the way of discounts.  Masters music has been helpful when I couldn't locate music at my preferred sources.
 
I might take a look at some of the sources mentinoed above, however.  It is always nice to get additional sources.
on December 30, 2012 2:18pm
 
Since 1979 we have been buying all music from EMS. They have had the same customer service people for all these years, who now have an unbelievable database both in their minds and on computer. They will find any work that is in print and for sale, and enjoy doing research for their regular customers. The fast service and good discount are other reasons we buy from EMS.  As they are active choir members their knowledge of printed church music is superior.
 
Educational Music Service (EMS) database.
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Tel: 845-469-5790, Fax: 845-469-5817
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Carla Boyer, Manager.
Don Boyer, Assistant Manager.
Fern Ashworth, Sales Department.
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ORCHESTRA MUSIC OF ALL PUBLISHERS
ORCHESTERNOTEN ALLER VERLAGE
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FAX: ++49-(0)871-953 8062
E-mail: emsmusic(a)bellsouth.net
 
 
 
on December 31, 2013 6:05am
I'm surprised no one has mentioned REJOICE Music http://www.rejoicemusic.net/index.cfm. If older pieces don't scare you Patrice offers wonderful customer service and is very willing to help with shipping and suggestions. All of their stock are purchased used from churches and schools. so there tends to be light markings and sometimes odd numberings on each copy but the music is just as readable as new. I highly reccomend REJOICE Music as a resouce to stretch your music budget.
 
(BTW, I am in no way employed or related to anyone at REJOICE Music. I have just found Patrice to be an extremely helpful advocate in getting the music I want from her site)
 
You may aslso want to check out print-per-request sites like Score Exchange and Finale Showcase where you may find VERY recently composed music to your liking. One warning about Finale Showcase: last time I used it they were publishing copyrighted works arranged by the users. I have not been to the site in a few years but just offer this up as an alert to znyone interested in the site.
 
Craig
Applauded by an audience of 1
on December 31, 2013 7:04am
As far as listening to pieces --
 
Some pieces in JW Pepper's online catalogue have a sample available, either for listening or for looking at a few pages of the score.
 
I go to choral reading sessions, but only if they're "tried and true" sessions. Otherwise you may get "publisher trying to sell this piece" type pieces.
 
Musical Heritage Society, now Passionato, has a good selection of choral works on CD for sale. http://www.passionato.com/?gclid=CLno4PnzxLQCFUxxQgodpkcARw
 
My local library systems - San Diego County Library and San Diego City Library - have CDs for borrowing. I've searched "choral", "choir", "singers", and of course "Robert Shaw", "Robert DeCormier", "Norman Luboff", and a few others. 
 
Believe it or not ... YouTube has been a big help these days! I find a piece in the choral libraries that I have inherited, then look it up on YouTube.
 
 
 
Donna
on January 11, 2013 11:51am
I buy our choir's music from MaryClare's "BookMark" store up at the top of the thread!  They take very good care of us and are great, great people.  Stores like theirs are rare, and I really urge all directors to, if at all possible, find local sources like them to buy your music.
 
Anthony Toohey
Director, Timshel Community Chorus of the Salinas Valley
King City, CA
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