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Darkness and Light Concert

I am putting together a concert for the Choral Union (2nd Mixed Choir) and Women's Chorus next fall.  The theme is "Darkness and Light"  I would appreciate input from those of you on the board who have ideas about pieces that would fit.  I am especially looking for a spiritual or rousing ender for both groups individually.  I am also looking for a nice combined number to do with them all at the end.
Please keep in mind, these are young undergraduates and non-majors.  I appreciate your help!
Tod Fish
Associate Director of Choral Activities
Stephen F. Austin State University
PS--Here are some ideas I have thus far:
Women's Chorus:
Nigra sum - Casals
Cantate Domino - Lang
Star's lullaby - Arr. Fish
Ave Maria - Oswald
Amazing Grace - Arr. Bondari
Will there really be a morning - Johnson
Den Tod/Erhöre Mich - Bach/Schütz
Ah! Si mon moine voulait danser - Arr. Patriquin
Scenes from Yad vashem - Hall
Choral Union
In the Beginning/The Heavens are Telling - Haydn
Spaseniye sodelal/Ave Maria - Rimsky-Korsakov/Stravinsky 
Lux Aurumque - Whitacre
Grace Before Sleep - LaBarr
Spring Canticle - Nelson 
Erev shel shoshanim - Arr. Klebanow
Light of the clear blue morning - Arr. Johnson
Duerme Negrito - Arr. Sole
on May 12, 2014 3:31am
Dear Tod,
You might find this piece for mixed chorus (SATB, occasional two-part divisi in each part) interesting: it's not hugely difficult, though it would be very tricky for non-music-readers.
It's an ancient love song / prayer translated from Gaelic. 
"As the rain hides the stars,
as the autumn mist hides the hills,
as the clouds veil the blue of the sky,
so the dark happenings of my lot
hide the shining of your face from me.
Yet, if I may hold your hand in the darkness,
it is enough, since I know that,
though I may stumble in my going,
you do not fall."
The world premiere is available.
on May 12, 2014 4:45am
Y'Rushalayim Shel Zahav by Naomi Shemer Is a beloved Israeli folksong referring to Jerusalem, City of Light.   Transcontinental sells some lovely arrangements of it.
I think Hal Leonard publishes an arrangement of a song from Roger Miller’s musical BIG RIVER.   The song is “Waiting for the Light” with the words, “I have lived in the darkness for so long.  I’m waiting for the light to shine.”   Lovely pop song.
Boosey & Hawkes sells my SATB a cappella piece LIGHTS UPON OUR SOULS.   It is in the shapenote style (Sacred Harp).   You can hear it in the “choral music” section of my website.
The light of sun and moon and stars
Lights upon our souls and gives us life.
Compassion is the key to life,
To give as has been given to you.
Renew your soul and go within to find your light.
The sun gives light to feed the Earth.
The soul gives love to feed the light.
Nick Page
Applauded by an audience of 1
on May 12, 2014 5:28am
My SKY for choir and piano might fit the bill (ca. 4 minutes).  It was written for amateur singers, for a choral festival.  Here's a link to a score sample:
Leonard Enns
on May 12, 2014 8:55am
"This Little Light of Mine"
There are plenty of arrangements of this spiritual arround.
on May 12, 2014 9:28am
Hi Tod, there are two nice lists on the subject here and here which you may have already seen.
There are also some lovely pieces on Independent Music Publishers Cooperative.  For your women, Elizabeth Alexander's "Faith is the bird that feels the light" (and sings when the dawn is still dark) and Joan Szymko's "Braided Light" vocalise come immediately to mind.  Type your search terms in (some cool pieces with 'dawn'/'darkness'/'shadow' too) at:
And if you're not yet overwhelmed with possibility, I'd like to humbly put forward my little piece "Lumen" which is a 3-part canon over a unison chant.  Text is: "Receive the light and pass it on. I give that you may give."  It's a flexible little one-pager, with room for possibility as a mass choir piece (you can hear the light 'travel'), perhaps even involving the audience in the chant.  Recording by Cantus on my website.
best wishes,
on May 12, 2014 12:12pm
One of the pieces from the oratorio Moses at the Jordan River would suit perfectly.  "Darkness".   It's one of the plagues of Egypt, text from the Torah in English.  There is a brief excerpt with orchestra at  Scroll pretty far down the page, #34, March, "Darkness".   It would work fine with piano and chorus.  If the excerpt seems of interest contact me for a piano-vocal score.
Darkness, darkness.  Heavy darkness, darkness. 
Darkness, darkness, it can be felt.

William Copper
on May 12, 2014 2:58pm
Hi Tod:
Three suggestions: 
The Star is a meditative setting of the iconic "Twinkle, twinkle" text from the 18th century by Ann and Jane Taylor.  I have versions in SATB (3:00) and SATB with piano (3:20).  Each has some divisi.
As the World Turns is a 6-part cannon (SSAATB).  I have versions with and without piano.  The piece runs about 5 minutes.  Individual parts are easy but putting the piece together requires pretty precise rhythmic singing.  The original text "plays" with these lines as various cannon voices enter and exit:
As the world turns, the sun sets, the moon ascends.
Light is fading, stars appear as night descends.
Borei Yom Valailah is from the Friday evening service.  The gist of the text (in Hebrew) is that night and day are willed by God; the text prays for protection from the darkness.  The setting for SATB, solo T or S, and piano runs about 2:30.  It is quite easy, composed for a volunteer synagogue choir.
If any of these pique your interest I will send you perusal copies and playouts of the finale file.
Bob Applebaum
on May 12, 2014 3:26pm
Looks like a great program and you've already received some wonderful recommendations! I'd love to suggest three works:
"Lux Aeterna" (SSAA unaccompanied) A setting of the traditional Lux Aeterna text, the sound world moves from dark to light and ends with a 4-part canon.
"We Can Mend the Sky" (SATB & percussion) With poetry by a 14-year-old Somali immigrant, this work shows a progression from the darkeness of war to the light of hope in a new land.
"Sleep, Little Baby, Sleep" (SATB) An evening lullaby.
All works are available through JR Music here.
Jake Runestad, composer
on May 12, 2014 8:38pm
Consider my piece The Shortest Day.  You can look at a score and listen
to the piece on the Composers Showcase here.  Mixed chorus 
a cappella.  For details, visit here.
Brian Holmes
on May 12, 2014 8:57pm
Dear Tod,
For your women’s chorus, I recommend that you consider Lux ex Nocte (Light Out of the Night), by Richard Toensing, which sets three sacred Latin hymns and uses both the music and the text to express the emotional contrast and conflict between light and darkness. The first section of the work, O lux beata Trinitas (O light of the blessed Trinity), begins with a bright and energetic statement evoking the divine light. The second section, O nata lux de lumine (O light born of light), begins in a more placid way, with quiet, prayerful ascending lines reaching a peak of intensity on the word "Jesu," after which the music becomes more intense and tortured, as the divine light penetrates ever more deeply into a world of darkness. The conflict is joined in earnest in the final section, Te lucis ante terminum (To thee, the light, before the close of day), where the chorus and marimba combine in driving, agitated music belying the serenity of the text. The work ends with a long-arched soprano solo, gradually returning to a calmer mood, though with an ambiguous sense of emotional resolution.

While Lux ex Nocte is musically challenging, I’m sure you and your choir will find it intense, purposeful, and deeply moving to perform. The piece was commissioned and premiered by the professional women’s choir, In Mulieribus. Click on these links to hear samples:

Be sure to let me know if you have questions and if you’d like to review a score.
All the best,
Janet Braccio
Bella Voce Communications
on May 13, 2014 4:36am
Night Song, Paint the Stars or The Star (twinkle, twinkle), all by Paul Carey, might be fun to look into.
My students (midle school, but I would give it to a non-reading adult choir in a heartbeat) have really enjoyed "Let it Shine."!/10454566.item#.U3ICx6hX-uY
We traded the snaps for claps as a concert closer. The audience loved it.
Also, I think Nigra Sum is a fabulous choice.  
on May 13, 2014 6:33am
Conspirare has "Light of a Clear Blue Morning" by Dolly Parton and arranged by Craig Hella Johnson.  Fits your theme well; might might help erase the pop/classical boundary, too.
For rousing:  Rise Again by Leon Dubinsky
The Mary Ellen Carter by Stan Rogers  (many arrangements of both).
For the women:  Northern Lights by Harry Somers
O Süsses Licht by Ramona Luengen
Mixed:  Northern Lights by Ola Gjeilo
Hymn to the Creator of Light by Rutter
The Storm Has Wrapped The Sky In Darkness by Alexander Dargomyzhsky (Russian)
on May 13, 2014 9:40am
Hi Tod,
Please give a listen to my song "Carry On," an inspirational song that deals with the themes of light and darkness. It's the second song on the "More Songs" page of my website, I also have an excellent SATB arrangement of this song.
Hank Fellows
on May 13, 2014 9:58am
Hi Tod,
I offer my "Dusk to Dawn" SSATBB a cappella published through Lawson-Gould.....gorgeous harmonies, text, and lots of interpretation possibilities.  Has been recorded well by both Willamette University's (OR) fine Chamber Choir and Mount San Antonio College (CA) Chamber,  Vijay
on May 14, 2014 9:42am
Apologies to Daniel Hall it is Reflections from Yah Vashem
on May 15, 2014 10:45am
Dear Tod
You could loook at From Darkness to Light by Philip Stopford.
This is based on a text from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by Irish writer CS Lewis.
Published by Ecclesium.
on May 20, 2014 2:49pm
Out of the Morning by Daniel Hall works great right after the CHJ Will There Really Be a Morning.
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