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SSAA or SSA piece that will WOW audience

Any favorites out there? I've got a couple of good suggestions, but am still looking for the perfect one! I would perfer a multicultural piece. 
Replies (37): Threaded | Chronological
on July 1, 2014 8:13pm
Here are some of my recommendations:
•Mata del Anima Sola, SSAA, by Antonio Estevez, pub. Earthsongs
•Son de Camaguey, SSAA, by Stephen Hatfield, pub. Boosey
•Hope for Resolution, SA/SSA by Paul Caldwell and Sean Ivory, pub. Earthsongs
•Dravidian Dithyramb, SSAA, by Victor Paranjoti, pub. Earthsongs
•Kyrie, SSA, by Glen McClure, pub. Earthsongs
•Mouth Music, SSA, by Dolores Keane and John Faulkner, pub. Earthsongs
Have Fun!
on July 10, 2014 7:20am
You want WOW you have to do Aglepta by Arne Mellnas:
    sung by University of Miami
Very multicultural, very amazing!
on July 2, 2014 2:42am
My setting of Madeleine L'Engle's Trinity 18 (which I call, A Definition of Peace) is a wow piece in that listeners are moved to silence at the end. It's been sung on both sides of the Atlantic, and has won some awards. It might suit - not "multicultural" per se, but the words are fabulous. You can here it here or on the Pepper site:

It's not a big piece, just a very moving one.
Thanks for your consideration.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on July 6, 2014 5:20am
Hi Dianna,
i just clicked your link and went to the Pepper listing, however there was no recording. Is there another link? Thank you,
Kayla Werlin
on July 9, 2014 12:04pm
I am listening to the Pepper link as I type this...and it is as beautiful as other music of Dianna's I have had the good fortune to hear...!
Try again!
on July 2, 2014 3:26am
Grace Fell Like the Rain,
The Land Of Beyond, Rollo Dilworth, Hal Leonard
Jabberwocky, David Brunner, Walton (?)
Walk In Jerusalem, Rollo Dilworth, Hal Leonard
Up On the Mountain Shouting,
One Mile, Rollo Dilworth
Climbin Up the Mountain, Children, Rollo Dilworth, Hal Leonard
on July 2, 2014 3:41am
Self promoting as it is you might look at my arrangement of "Jerusalem". I believe it has a wow factor. Not sure exactly why - but look it up on YouTube.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on July 2, 2014 8:04am
From ECS Publishing:
HOFFMAN, Stanley M.: Three Miniatures, #5678, (SSAA), [Secular] (1. The Lute, 2. The Thunderbolt, 3. The Sun) - (Secular - English, Translation by S.M.H. of Hebrew text by Judah al Harizi,13th century) Click on each of the following links to listen to a performance of this work by the women of the Philovox ensemble.
MOONEY, David, arr: Cat's Ramble, The (Medley of Irish Melodies) from "David Mooney Irish Choral Series", #6019, (SSA & Piano), [Secular]
MOONEY, David, arr: Phil the Fluther's Ball (from "David Mooney Irish Choral Series"), #6023, (SSA, Piano & Flute), [Secular]
PROKHOROV, Vadim: Zain'ka (Hey, Bunny), #6719, (3-part Treble Chorus & Piano), [Secular]
Click on this link to listen to a performance of this work by the women of the Philovox ensemble.
Stanley M. Hoffman, Ph.D.
Chief Editor
615 Concord Street, Framingham, MA 01702
ph 508-620-7400
e-mail: smhoffman(a) 
Canticle Distributing, 1727 Larkin Williams Road Fenton, MO 63026-2024 
ph 800-647-2117 (USA only)     
ph. 636-305-0100 (outside USA and inside metro St. Louis)
fax  636-305-0121
e-mail: morningstar(a)
on July 2, 2014 8:18am
Perhaps some works by Gabriela Lena Frank?

She also wrote a large work for SA chorus & orchestra with soloists called "Saints" which was recently premiered by the San Francisco Girls Chorus and the Berkeley Symphony...
Bright Sheng also has some fabulous pieces...
Best wishes,
Allison Weissman
G. Schirmer Inc. / AMP
on July 2, 2014 8:24am
Our big closer is Dubula. We started with the Hatfield arrangement but made it more raw, less choral, and added much more interesting percussion. You can hear a sample off "Freedom Land" at You can download the full tune at Amazon or iTunes. Let me know if you're interested in sheet music.
Sing on!
Applauded by an audience of 2
on July 2, 2014 8:39am
Joan Szymko "Vivos Voco"
Gwyneth Walker "I thank you God", "Tree of Peace"
Stephen Hatfield "Who I Am", "Honey in the Rock"
Mark Sirett "Song of Angels"
Paul Haley "Freedom Trilogy", "Untraveled Worlds"
Depends on what kind of "wow" you want - big and flashy,  exquisite and refined?
on July 2, 2014 10:37am
Hi Matthew,
I have 2 new works for SSAA just released at that both received mid-concert standing ovations at their premieres this past spring. (so I guess that meets the "wow" factor  :-)    
River / SSAA, piano;  (also available SATB) Commissioned by the Cincinnati Children's Choir, River is an urgent call for action, a poignant expression of hope and a lively celebration of new leadership . 
     Listen & view score on line at:
Malala / SSAA, doumbek; Commissioned for International Women's Day, this celebrates the courage of girls education advocate, Malala Yousafzai 
     Listen & view score on line at:

Also just released:
Ffe Mwe, Mwe Ffe / they are us and we are them.  SSAA, solo, hand drum.  (also available SATB)
Interwoven African rhythms permeate this energetic piece which features the Gandhi quote: "be the change you wish to see"
      Listen & view score on line at:
Thank you!
Applauded by an audience of 2
on July 2, 2014 11:07am
Psalm 23 - Z. Randall Stroope
Bring Me Little Water Silvy - arr. Moira Smiley
Ride On, King Jesus - arr. Moses Hogan
Music Down in My Soul - Moses Hogan
Ngana - Stephen Leek
How Can I Keep From Singing - arr. Gwenyth Walker
on July 2, 2014 3:47pm
Hi Matthew!
on July 2, 2014 4:17pm
Check out "Ah! si mon moine voulait danser" arranged by Donald Patriquin. I'm also a fan of William Hawley's "Ave Maria."
on July 3, 2014 8:01am
Thanks, Kiersten!
May I add that the SSA version of "J'entends le moulin" will be published by Earthsongs this fall. However, if you are wanting to rehearse/perform it between now and late October, it is temporarily available (with Earthsongs' permission) from A Tempo <donaldpatriquin(a)>. In terms of "Wow" reaction, I think most would place it a bit above "Ah! Si mon moine voulait danser". One of the finest SATB performances may be found at under the direction of Brady Allred. You may come across an All State SSA Chorus performance of "J'entends" but this is actually an SS version and not the full blown, new SSA version. There is a US premiere possibility here!
on July 2, 2014 6:20pm
My piece "My Voice" was commissioned by the Contra Costa CHildren's Chorus for its 25th anniversary. My late wife, author Patricia Doherty, wrote the poem for and about the members of the chorus: What is my voice? Where does it come from? What do I do with it? Where does it take me? It's scored for SSAA, piano and strings. It was very well received. braptormusic(a) 
on July 3, 2014 7:50am
Las Amarillas--arr. Hatfield, pub. Boosey, SSA  a capella
Tricky cross rhythms, body percussion--great piece worth the effort.
Eloise Porter
on July 3, 2014 7:52am
The women of our mixed-voice choir recently performed Nick Page's arrangement of the exuberant Balkan folk song, Niska Banja (semi-chorus on the verses, full chorus everywhere else) with a top notch klezmer clarinetist and percussionist.
It was quite straightforward to put together... and created a definite 'wow factor' that night!
Jenny Crober,
Artistic Director,
VOCA Chorus of Toronto
on July 3, 2014 8:20am
Two great pieces by Andrea Clearfield. Both in Tibetan from her Cantata Tse Go La and can be performed separately or together.
One is beautiful and lyrical the other fast and rhythmic with foot stomping, etc. Both are audience favorites, and perhaps more importantly, singer favorites as well.
Scores and recordings of both can be found here:
on July 3, 2014 9:03am
Here are a couple of pieces that my girls LOVE to do!
Caldwell and Ivory - Ain't no Grave (you have to have an AMAZING pianist for this piece)
Stroope's - Psalm 23, Dies Irae, and Revelation
Tres Cantos Nativos
Uberlebensgross (Hatfield)
Gloria from Mass #6 (Orban)
I Thank You God (Walker)
Crossing the Bar (Walker)
Gaudete (Engelhardt)
Heaven Bound Train (Hatfield)
Alleluia (Basler)
on July 3, 2014 9:56am
I very much like Nikolai Kedrov's Otche Nash (Our Father) sung SSAA.  There's a wonderful recording on the album Sacred Treasures V which can be heard at #2 at  The recording is of a quartet but it's not hard to imagine a larger ensemble.  (It's also quite nice sung TTBB or full chorus.)
on July 4, 2014 5:55am
Love this one (no it's not one of mine :) Icelandic and Albanian ought to be multicultural :p - it's got a few more voices than 4. I can supply printed music but not the original text in Albanian. The arrangement (and this text) is Icelandic, by one Ríkharður Örn Pálsson. Needs good altos (I borrowed a couple of high tenors for this recording)
Here's one of mine though - with cello if that's possible for you:
best wishes 
on July 4, 2014 8:57am
Try this one:
"The 5 Stages of Loss" - SSAA and piano
free download at
on July 5, 2014 4:20pm
"Never Before" is a three-part women's a cappella piece that was composed for a lessons and carols service in 1998, as a response to the story in which an angel announces to Mary that she will bear the Christ child. A full stream of the track is available at; sheet music is available at
on July 6, 2014 2:03pm
"Hold On" by Clifton Noble.  Search it on YouTube.  If you get the honor Choir, fast forward and listen.  It is worth it.
Calmer, bt inspired and inspiring:
"Balm in Gilead" by Jackson Berkey
Best Wishes,
on July 7, 2014 5:43am
Another good one is Las Amarillas arr by Hatfield. Lots of versions on YouTube: We have been working on this for a while and keep finding more ways to tweak it. The rhythms are fantastic. Audiences love it.
Sing on!
on July 7, 2014 6:07am
Joshua Fit the Battle, SBMP
on July 7, 2014 7:07am
I'm always blown away by:
The Bike Let Loose (SSAA and piano), by Edie Hill.  An exhilirating motorcycle ride through an Iowa cornfield.  (I was hooked, from the very first phrase!)
From Behind the Caravan (SSAA, soloists, viola (or cello or vielle or Oud), by Abbie Betinis.  Sensual and rhythmic settings of Hafiz.  Pure joy.
And from my own workbench, both light and darkness:
Faith Is the Bird That Feels the Light (SSA).  A soulful rendering of a Rabindranath Tagore saying.  This high school chorus favorite may also be sung by a vocal trio.
Reasons for the Perpetuation of Slavery (SSAA).  A fierce litany of reasons, rationalizations and justifications for an ancient (and modern) human institution.
Applauded by an audience of 1
on July 8, 2014 5:00am
Some more shameless self-promotion: my SSA setting of Chippewa Dream Song Medley, published by Alliance Publishing (API), NOT Alliance Music. If you're looking for something multi-cultural, it may be the only thing out there in Ojibway.
on July 8, 2014 8:45am
Hi Matthew!
An SSA piece that will "WOW" your audience.
Well, without making any concrete suggestions (of which I'm sure you'll have many), the most important thing here is to KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE.
I see you're in Texas; I see you're looking for multicultural.
Something that plays well in Austin can fall flat in El Paso.  Something that works great for a Catholic church group will bomb in a UU choir.  Something that's awesome for a highly skilled quartet will be a disaster for 300 unauditioned voices.  I'm hoping you see my point.  Not to hijack your post, but this is something that seems to come up... a lot.  "I want a great piece! What's your favorite?" Followed by scant information about the group, the audience, or the venue.
Things to consider.  Size? Difficulty level? The venue and how reverberant it is?  How much rehearsal time you have?
The audience?  Its politics? Its cultural preferences? Their median age? The type of language that's acceptable / incomprhensible? The musical tastes?  How far those tastes will bend?  The musical education of the audience?
Sometimes ADs will pull out a Really Difficult Piece thinking it will impress... and it doesn't.
Sometimes ADs will pull out a "crowd pleaser" and it's embarrassing or boring, because it's been done so much... (esp something to consider at conferences!)
Sometimes ADs will be unclear on the concept of multiculturalism... especially note "holiday" concerts where the "multicultural" piece still references Christmas, albeit in some exotic locale.  (Seriously. Think about it.)
There you go.  Food for thought I hope.  Without recommending any specific piece or pieces or composers, I am endeavoring a way to think about this issue.  How to "WOW" an audience?  The best approach is to know your audience; then think about the rep.  
Of course, you might be trying to build / grow / or change your audience.  That's something else, too.  Maybe the rep has been stodgy and if you do some experimental / alt-classical / cabaret / multilingual material it will freshen things up and bring in younger folks or a more diverse audience.  
All this is stuff to think about.  IMHO.  FWIW.  
Applauded by an audience of 1
on July 8, 2014 11:26am
I've been watching this thread, enjoying the replies, thank you, but without the time to add to it. Here is my longish list. Some are more "wow" for the beauty of the writing ("Children Blessed of the Lord" and "Nigra Sum") and others for the emotional impact ("Come, Colours Rise" and "Tum Balalayka", for two). All are favourites of mine and my choirs. Thank you for starting this topic, Matthew!
Children Blessed of the Lord       Mendelssohn, arr. Nancy Grundahl    ssa pno     Mark Foster YS 505
Chili Con Carne               Anders Edenroth            ssa  a cap   Walton HL08501647
Come Colours Rise         Grant McLachlan  ssa pno          Theodore Presser
Didn't My Lord Deliver Daniel?  Spiritual, arr. Ken Berg  ssa pno               Hal Leonard, 08703266
Hotaru-Koi         Japanese, arr. Ro Ogura  ssa a cap           Jamac
If  You Can Walk You Can Dance    Elizabeth Alexander       ssa, pno, claves  Seafarer Press SEA-022-06
Las Amarillas     arr. S. Hatfield   ssa a cap       B&H OCTB6784
Le Train d'Hiver               Marie-Claire Saindon     ssa a cap   B&H 48019154
Like a Rainbow                Bob Chilcott      ssa pno  OUP isbn 0-19-3432-919
Mulligatawny MacBeth    John Govedas ssaa pno Treble Clef press  
Nigra Sum          Pablo Casals      ssa pno     Tetra Music Corp. TC 120
Nothin' gonna Stumble My Feet   ssa a cap         Greg Gilpin       
P'tit Galop Colinda         Acadian, arr. Susan Brumfield    ssa pno, fiddles Plymouth Music HL-252?
Reel a' Bouche   French Canadian folk, arr. Malcolm Dalglish        ssaa pno or hammer dulcimer or a cap    Ooolitic Music, 1 Plymouth
Sail Away           Malcolm Dalglish   ssaa, pno or hammer dulcimer or a cap          Ooolitic Music
Sing When the Spirit Says Sing   Spiritual, arr. Katy Strand   ssa pno   Chor Guild CGA 912
Tocatia (part I, Doua jucarii)       Doina Rotaru     ssa   a cap Musica Romanica
Tum Balalayka                 Trad. Russian Yiddish, arr. Marjan Helms  ssa with pno or string quartet; SBMP 697; string quartet parts available
We Rise Again   Leon Dubinsky, arr. Lydia Adams        ssaa pno   permissions(a)
Linda Beaupre
Artistic Director of The Bach Children's Chorus and Bach Chamber Youth Choir (Toronto)
on July 9, 2014 1:08pm
on July 10, 2014 11:22am
Ain't No Grave Can Hold My Body Down, Caldwell and Ivory!!!
on July 10, 2014 9:18pm
I really like Sto mi e milo, which I first heard performed by Kitka.  You can hear a sample here:
Here's a good recording (ignore the guys standing off to the side :)
on July 11, 2014 8:14am
The Medieval carol Verbum Patris Umanatur (SSAA a cappella, percussion) is lots of fun. I have an edition and a good recording if you'd like to see/hear more…
Hope this helps,
Robert A.M. Ross
Chair, Music Department
Community College of Philadelphia
robertamross(a) <Robert Ross 11>
on July 15, 2014 5:54am
I love - Still I Rise by Rosephanye Powell - teachable moments, rockin' gospel and a positive message for young women.
Rnadi Carp
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