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songs about family?

Hello all,
I'm looking for a few songs on the theme of family for my community chorus program this summer. A cappella (although percussion is okay), SATB or SAB, easy to intermediate difficulty, preferably not too sentimental! I'm open to all styles, but would especially love suggestions of 15th-17th century and ethnic/roots musics.
Thanks for any suggestions.
Anna Dembska
director, Schoodic Summer Chorus
Replies (9): Threaded | Chronological
on April 2, 2014 1:45pm
You might consider expanding your categories to include the Holy Family if you don’t mind including a Renaissance motet or two.  Most family texts that I know of deal with husband-wife quarrels:  “Quand mon mary de Dehors” (SATB) by Orlando di Lasso, “The Family Quarrel” (canon a4) by Thomas Arne (both at, & “Die Harmonie in der Ehe” (SATB, piano optional) by Franz Joseph Haydn (look for Drinker’s translation).
If you don't mind adding a piano, please take a look at my own “Gospel of Mrs. Sadie” – a celebration of Mama’s life for solos, SATB, and piano at
on April 3, 2014 3:10am
Hello Anna - though this piece is not choral I have to send you the link as I have had so many comments from families and new mothers.  You may be able to score some voices from the backing and the message is truely family.  I wrote the song after being inspired by the anticipation and then arrival of my first grandchild Isobel.
on April 3, 2014 6:37pm
Thanks, Michael, those are fun. I'm sorry that we can't use a piano, so we won't be able to do Mrs Sadie...
on April 3, 2014 6:38pm
Thank you, Robin.
on April 4, 2014 5:42am
You might be interested in a song called "When There's Love at Home" (although, it may not pass the "preferably not too sentimental" litmus test).  I believe it's a late 19th century melody.
Here it is, in a TTBB arrangement by Tom Gentry (, that I'm sure could be adapted easily for SATB.
on April 4, 2014 10:11am
Thanks, David. Yes, sentimental! But it occurred to me that maybe a reggae arrangement might hit the spot!
on April 4, 2014 11:29am
Tom Chapin's Family Tree may not meet your needs, but it's a great song for elementary and middle school students as well as for a general sudience sing-along (from his CD by the same name).  I am not aware of a harmony arrangement, but it definitely stands on its own without harmony, in my opinion.  I would put in the ethnic/roots subcategory of "20th century singer-songwriter family songs", and consider it not sentimental but rather riotously funny.  There are many versions on youtube.
And how about Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child, and other Spirituals?
on April 5, 2014 5:35pm
That's really fun, Bart, an perfect thematically. Unfortunately not in a form we can use as is.
on April 5, 2014 5:35pm
And, I forgot to say, thanks for taking the time to give suggestions.
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