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Eric Whitacre Suggestions?

My high school chamber choir (20 singers) fell in love with Eric Whitacre this semester.  They were very successful with "Lux Aurumque" and they want to sing more of his music next year.  I would appreciate suggestions as to what other of his songs might be appropriate for a small high school chamber choir.  Some of his works seem a bit too long - I would prefer something in the 3-4 minute range.  Your thoughts?
Anita Tally
Carl Junction, MO
Replies (16): Threaded | Chronological
on May 14, 2012 8:42am
A Boy and a Girl, or 5 Hebrew Love Songs.  You can pick and choose, and the whole set does not take very long.
on May 14, 2012 9:14am
"A Boy and a Girl" would be a good one. But if you like more claster-oriented music "Hope, Faith, Life, Love" would fall into that category, I think.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 14, 2012 11:03am
If your choir loves Whitacre's music, they may love equally (or even more) the new music of another composer, J. (Jason) Michael Saunders, especially "Monotone" and "The Lightener of the Stars."  Listen here:
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 15, 2012 5:20am
Water Night is also not too long and is very beautiful, but the texture gets so thick at times that some of your 20 singers would be one to a part in "clusters" at certain places.  If they can handle that, it might be worth a look.
on May 15, 2012 5:24am
Hi Anita,
My HS choir loved "The Seal Lullaby" by Whitacre.  It was one of their favorites this year.
Sandra Clark
Frisco, TX
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on May 15, 2012 5:33am
I'm with Julia. Put together a program of several contemporary composers, and show your students the vitality and diversity of contemporary choral music. Find local composers who  will benefit from the exposure and who will come in and talk with your students.
on May 24, 2012 8:43pm
Bravo Nathaniel. Btw, I loved your comments and input at the NCCO conference roundtable last Fall on commissioning new works.
Paul Carey
on May 15, 2012 10:05am
I'd HIGHLY suggest "Seal Lullabye."  Gorgeous, kids and I love it.
Mike Monsen
Selah, WA
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on May 17, 2012 12:44pm
Also, Whitacre's Animal Crackers!
A nice change.
on May 24, 2012 7:31am
I second Seal Lullaby  we just did it  in the TTBB form and it was amazing!
on May 24, 2012 7:15pm
Without hesitation, I recommend Sleep.
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on May 24, 2012 7:46pm
With 20 singers, I'd be weary of programming anything eric whitacre. I know that wouldnt be a popular option, but Whitacre isn't easy and his music is very difficult and often pedagogically not appropriate for the developing voices of MOST high school choirs.
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on May 24, 2012 8:42pm
Bravo, Alan. I often wonder why virtually any HS director chooses this music,  especially the heavy divisi pieces which usually result in very constrained singing in less than elite young singers - you have hit the nail directly on the head in your last line. Not to mention further details like lack of any counterpoint or real line for inner voices, musical development, etc which HS students should be exposed to as much as possible. Are HS directors just giving in to their students when the kids beg for this? As the popularity of Whitacre's music is waning drastically at the college level (or at least the top schools), the publicity push by Mr. Whitacre, his cardboard cutout, and his business associates seems to be to drop down to the HS level and recruit large numbers of bodies (at a participation cost) for various versions of  "Sing with Eric" events in NYC and elsewhere. That's my opinion but others don't have to agree.
Btw, did you mean "weary"  or "wary"- either way I agree- haha.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 24, 2012 8:30pm
Animal Crackers 1 and 2, definitely. You can pick and choose which of the six short pieces you do. Also, if they managed Lux well, you might try his more recent companion piece, Nox Aurumque, for a real challenge.
on May 25, 2012 6:54am
The Seal Lullabye is perfect for high school level voices.  It is lovely and the range is fine for young singers. Another piece called " Love and Marriage" is also fine for high school.
I see Mr. Carey in response to your question manages to put down just about everybody interested in the music of Eric Whitacre( including Eric Whitacre). I can't help but wonder on whose authority he knows the interest in Eric Whitacre's music is "waning drastically" at colleges especially "top schools"  ( would love to know what he considers "top schools") but I encourage you to honor your young student's request and search out other repertoire that will work for their voices.  His music is beautiful and has touched and engaged millions of people, ( well, I guess  the exception being those at "top schools"...). 
Good luck,
on May 25, 2012 8:45am
Dear Anita,
If you read my post closely, my main point is to agree with Alan Davis. I did not respond to the main question.
I do not pretend to have authority to know things, I simply know them from regular attendance to numerous ACDA conferences, the NCCO (National Collegiate Choral Organization)  Conference last November, various other festivals and other sources such as conversations with college directors. At NCCO, which is just for the college/university world, there was not a single Whitacre piece programmed. The feeling there is that for many of the directors, they have "been there and done that". They are moving on to different music. In a roundtable discussion about commissioning new works, the audience Q and A portion of the session included remarks that they did not want to commission or embrace highly homophonic music, including the style which is so identified with Whitacre. In informal comments and conversations at NCCO the same things were said. Also, btw, people at NCCO weren't a bunch of snobs- the conference was wonderful and very refreshing, and was attended by all age groups from wonderful college singers through top conductors.
When I say "top schools" I mean the leading universities with MM and DMA programs. BYU would certainly be an exception as Ron Staheli has been a strong supporter of Whitacre's music and I think Ron has done beautiful things with it, equipped with highly trained singers. But saying that also gets us back to Alan Davis' comments about the appropriateness of the high divisi Whitacre pieces for HS choirs, other than elite programs where the choir is sufficiently large and very well-trained.
People can program whatever they want, but we can also have opinions about it. Also I do want to say that I believe that Whitacre has a special, personal  voice- and that is one thing we want from our composers- that uniqueness which draws us in-, making us wonder "what is that sound, what is that idea?" That is a great achievement.
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