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Do you have a favorite self-published choral work?

Do you have a favorite self-published choral work?
There’s a lot of interest currently centering around the explosion of self-publishing. It seems ‘everyone’ is getting into it. It would be very helpful to have the benefit of your positive experience with some of this music. Word-of-mouth and ChoralNet are some of the best ways to get this information around to fellow conductors and composers.
For purposes of this thread, ‘self-published’ includes only music available directly from composers – either as PDF files or printed copies – as well as music available digitally from ‘traditional’ sites such as Sheet Music Plus’s Digital Print, JW Pepper Digital and a growing number of others.
If you have conducted one or more self-published works that you really like, would you share your experience? If so– 
•Please give the name of the music as well as the composer, and feel free to cite just a (favorite?) single work, or two, or more. Don’t hesitate to mention a piece mentioned by another respondent!
•How did you happen to choose this music? Was it from a concert or a reading session, or a review or article, or an advertisement, a colleague’s recommendation, or ChoralNet, or perhaps a composer’s website, or a digital company’s catalog, or some other source…?
•If you have a link to a performance or recording please give that information as well.  
•If you’d like to say something positive about the piece this could be helpful (e.g. choir and audience reaction)
•Do you have any general comments about performing the music of living (self-published or otherwise) composers, or about anything that might in any way relate to the topic?
Thanks very much!
Donald Patriquin
Replies (12): Threaded | Chronological
on June 22, 2014 7:22pm
"The Day Before Christmas"  by Joanna Seaton and Donald Sosin.  Commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Chorus and chosen for their Welcome Yule programs for three separate seasons, including the "Best of" compilation program a couple of years ago.  
You can find it here :   There is also a piano accompaniment.
"How Do You Do!"  SATB  by Donald Sosin  ©1987 Farmhouse Window Productions  A welcoming madrigal turns into a hip-hop song along the way and ends with a flourish.  Let me know if you'd like to see it.  Also "Rain"  a contemplative piece with texts about the rain from various sources.
on June 23, 2014 2:53am
May I mention here that the Musica database also references "self published" choral works. For this, it is very easy! In the description of the piece, one has just to input, as a publisher, the coordinates of the composer or or the structure providing or selling the score (a music library, a choir,...).
To get the right to input, for evident security reasons of integrity of the database, you have just to ask, at office(a)
The works are then available for the thousands of IPs that connect every day to 
Jean Sturm
Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 23, 2014 8:36am
Hello Jean,
Thanks for your reply. It was certainly a pleasure to meet you in person at Podium 2014, and to experience the inner workings of this wonderful resource. Thank you for getting me to sign up! I urge conductors and composers to make use of this unique (in that it is surely the largest in the world) database for traditionally and self published choral music.
The reason for this particular thread is hopefully to add to the ways in which conductors can have the benefit of each others' experience with music they have found particularly appealing. Hopefully composers of this (and other) music will register their music on the database which, like the best things in life, is FREE– for conductors and composers alike.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on June 23, 2014 8:47am
I have frequently conducted self-published works (both my own and many others). Since there is much high quality self-published music as well as traditionally published music and public domain (CPDL, IMSLP) music, I have included it in my conducting repertoire.
I think there is a lot of advantage to self-publishing for a composer, but currently it can still be difficult to find for a conductor (The new distributing systems systems through SMP and JWPepper and others are changing that I think, although there potentially could be some pitfalls yet with the system).
I have found the self-published music (and/or composers) through a variety of ways with choral conferences and choralnet being the two main ways.
Some examples of pieces/composers that have self-published music (some of which have music in both self and traditionally published):
Larry Nickel: I absolutely love his numerous self-published arrangements and originals which are available for purchase from his website. He has traditionally published pieces also, and he (interestingly enough because he still sells much of his music as self-published) owns Cypress publishing (which sells choral music of Canadian composers). I discovered his music at a Northwest ACDA division convention held in Vancouver, BC. While there I went to a session on Canadian choral composers, and decided to check out some of the names of composers on the list. I thus came upon his music and absolutely loved it.
Some of my favorite of his self-published pieces includes: "Heavenly Son" (Christmas), "How Sweetly Chimes Those Sabbath Bells" (this one is hard not to hold as my favorite of his pieces, it is so fun), "I Know My Jesus Lives" (A piece that absolutely moves singers and hearers alike).
Hildigunnur Runarsdottir: I've only conducted one piece of hers, "Psalm 150", but it is fantastic. I found her music through choral net when Psalm 150 piece received a silver platter award. I have perused her music and am of the opinion it is consistently high quality. The best way to contact her in English (unless you know Icelandic) is through choralnet. She has placed contact info with her pieces on the Composition Showcase.
Other self-published composers whose music I have done (or would like to) include: Donald Patriquin, Melinda Bargreen (excellent choral music), Joy Decoursey-Porter. These are all contactable through choralnet and I feel I can vouch for the quality of much of their music (I don't say all, because I don't know it all). I know Melinda has a website which can be googled. I am very biased, but I think my music is high quality, and singers and listeners (in neutral settings where they don't know me from Adam and thus aren't predisposed to be generous toward me) always seem to agree. I am in the process of building a website ( and making more of my compositions available to the public.
God Bless and hope this is helpful to some conductors out there. Check this music out, there is great stuff out there!
Michael Sandvik
on June 24, 2014 7:37am
I agree with what you said. Do you have a 20-40 minute sacred piece (not Christmas) of yours or know of one?  Solos and divisi ok.  Thank you. Contact me at zopranosw(a) or through Choralnet.
on June 24, 2014 5:41pm
I've come across just a few self-published works over the past few seasons, through some of the methods you've mentioned, Donald: via concerts, colleagues' recommendations, ChoralNet, composer’s websites (especially effective when there is a video link provided), and choral reading workshops.  
Speaking of these workshops, I was very fortunate to take part in an excellent and very enjoyable reading session of self-published works at PODIUM, the biennial ChoralCanada music conference in Halifax a few weeks ago.  I enjoyed several of the pieces we sang through that day, including Leonard Enns' the only face I want is yours (text: E.D. Blodgett), Lovesong by Cy Giacomin (text: Rachel Abma) and Christine Donkin's The Fragile Web (text: E. Pauline Johnson).
Not only did the ladies of our mixed-voice community choir (the VOCA Chorus of Toronto) thoroughly enjoy performing Ottawa composer Elise Letourneau's gorgeous Ave Maria (Diamond in the Square Music) at our concert last December, but it was a huge audience favourite as well.  
Speaking of self-publishing vs. working with a formal publishing house, I've done a wee bit of choral arranging, including a version of Gordon Lightfoot's gorgeous Song for a Winter's Night (SATB, soprano and alto soloists, 2 guitars {or guitar and piano} accompaniment), and have often wondered if it would, as some conductors have advised me, be better to have this piece formally published in order to get it more 'out there' into the choral community...  
Jenny Crober,
Art. Dir.,
VOCA Chorus of Toronto
on June 24, 2014 7:21pm
Here's a great website.
Great pieces by J. David Moore, Abbie Betinis, Jocelyn Hagen, Elizabeth Alexander, and Joan Szymko, among others.
Some of my favorites:
"We Remember Them", Elizabeth Alexander
"A Palette to Paint Us As We Are", Elizabeth Alexander
"Will the Circle Be Unbroken", J. David Moore
"Carmina Mei Cordis", Abbie Betinis
"Be Like the Bird", Abbie Betinis (a canon)
I'm glad you asked, because now I'm browsing this site again and finding all kinds of new and exciting things.
on June 25, 2014 3:02pm
It's great to hear from a number of conductors... That's really what this particular forum is all about: self-published works that conductors have especially enjoyed. It might be useful to conductors to mention the voicing in future responses.
on June 26, 2014 6:26am
I would strongly recommend checking out Independent Music Publishers Cooperative - this is a collective of some wonderful composers. I recently programmed "On My Dreams" by Jocelyn Hagen, which the choir and I both loved. Kevin Siegfried has his own site - - probably best known in the choral world for his arrangements of early sacred music from the US, esp. his Shaker Songs. I recently programmed "Gentle Words" which was another big hit with my singers. Stephen Paulus has the rights to most of his catalogue at this point (it could be all - I am not sure), and naturally there is an incredible wealth of material there ( Libby Larson is also self-publishing now - And if you have never programmed Janika Vandervelde, you should definitely consider her works - This is the tip of the iceberg - I could go on and on, but have to race off now. Have fun with this!
on June 27, 2014 2:21pm
Dear Mr. Patriquin,
My son, Matthew Herriman -  composed a sacred choral piece "Pageant"  at age 26. His choir performed the piece that year during Easter.   He passed away 2 years later.  His Church's choirs performed it a couple years ago as a tribute to him in a more formal setting.  It was beautiful.  
I have a nice arrangement "Pageant" and would love to hear it performed again sometime.  I would be glad to send you the PDF if you are interested...meanwhile, here is a link to it's first performance (not the greatest quality...but you will get the idea.)
Also, this fall - I am invited to Israel to hear "Pageant"  performed by a Music Conservatory in Jerusalem.  
Darleen Herriman (San Diego, Ca.)
on June 28, 2014 9:18am
Hello Mrs. Herriman,
I have just listened to Matt's piece and am sure that there are a number of choirs out there leading their worship service with contemporary Christian music that would enjoy singing this inspired song. If I were directing the church choir I had until quite recently I would most certainly have them sing it. I particularly appreciated the recurring phrase "Do not fear..." The YouTube performance is certainly inspired and thank you for sharing it. I recommend it to 'contemporary' worship leaders. If you wish, I can help you get this piece onto a professional digital publishing site.  I will contact you for more information.
Applauded by an audience of 3
on July 4, 2014 1:26pm
Dear Don:
One of my favorite composers, the late Mitchell Bender, set the words of Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech to music, arranged for Band & Chorus. It is available from Mitchell's MSB Publishing (""), currently run by Mitchell's son, Dave Bender, and his wife, Jean. (Dave and Jean are good friends of mine...)
Some information on the piece is available at this website (""), and performances are available on youtube.
Also, Don, I really love your settings of "Six Songs of Early Canada"... specifically "The Wreck of the S.S. Ethie" and "J'Entends Le Moulin"...
Ron Isaacson
Germantown, MD
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